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~V,^'7 SL. 




Ill rinii—iiiii ■iM.^Mifci^^^fc, 



Volume XX. 

This uniform edition as first issued 
was limited to i)io copies, of 
which 60 copies were not for sale. 
There have been sold to the public 
2^0 copies and 1000 copies are now 
included in the present Elkhorn 
Edition, of which this is 





V ' II 


l|\^IV^i!^ %llAiir.aT 

• \ li 

Throdore Rooscvctt 


Essays and Addresses 





Copyright, 1899 


Copyright, 1900 

Copyright, Z900 



Copyright, 1899 
Copyright, 1900 
Copyright, 1901 
Copyright, 1903 

This edition of "The Strenuous Life** is issued under special 
arrangement with Thb Century Company 

How dull it is to pause, to make an end, 

To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use ! 

As tho' to breathe were life. Life piled on life 

Were all too little, and of one to me 

Little remains: but every hour is saved 

From that eternal silence, something more, 

A bringer of new things; and vile it were 

For some three stms to store and hoard myself. 

i\nd this gray spirit yearning in desire 

To follow knowledge like a sinking star. 

Beyond the utmost bound of human thought. 

. . . My mariners, 
Souls that have toil'd, and wrought, and thought with me — 
That ever with a frolic welcome took 
The thunder and the simshine, and opposed 
Free hearts, free foreheads — you and I are old; 
Old age hath yet his honor and his toil ; 
Death closes all: but something ere the end, 
Some work of noble note, may yet be done, — 

Push oflf, and sitting well in order smite 
The sounding fturows; for my purpose holds 
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths 
Of all the western stars, until I die. 

Ten nyson *s ' ' Ulysses. ' ' 

Ja! diesem Sinne bin ich ganz ergeben, 

Dass ist der Weisheit letzter Schluss; 

Nur der verdient sich Freiheit wie das Leben, 

Der t&glich sie erobem muss. 

Und so verbringt, umrungen von Gefahr, 

Hier Kindheit, Mann und Greis sein tuchtig Jahr. 

Solch* ein Gewimmel mOcht* ich sehn, 

Auf freiem Grund mit freiem Volke stehn. 

Goethe* s '* Faust." 



C O N T K N T S 


The Strenuous Lifk i 

Expansion and Peacb 23 

Latitude and Longitude among Reformers 39 

Fem.o\v-Feeling as a Political Factor 63 

Civic II klpfulness 87 

Character and Success 107 

The Eighth and Ninth Commandments in Politics. 119 

The Best and the Good 127 

Promise and Plrfoumance 135 


Contents vi 



The American Boy 147 

Military Prkparbdness and Unpreparedness 159 

Admiral Dewey 170 

Grant 197 

The Two Americas 210 

Manhood and Statehood 231 

Brotherhood and the Heroic Virtues 247 

National Duties 263 

The Laror Question 283 

Christian Citizenship 303 


Theodore Roosevelt Frontispiece 

Abraham Lincoln ii6 

George Dewey 182 

Ulysses S. Grant 200 



Spbbch Before the Hamilton Club, 
Chicago, April io, 2899 






IN Speaking to you, men of the greatest city of 
the West, men of the State which gave to the 
country Lincohi and Grant, men who pre- 
eminently and distinctly embody all that is most 
American in the American character, I wish to 
preach, not the doctrine of igrjoble ease, but the 
doctrine of the strenuous life, (the life of toil and *-- ^-^ \ 
effort, of labor and strife ; \o preach that highest 
form of success which conies, not to the man who 
desires mere easy peace, but to the man who does 
not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from , 

bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid 
ultimate triumph. 
A life of slothful ease, a life of that peace which 
/springs merely from lack either of desire or of 
^ power to strive after great things, is as little 
worthy of a nation as of an individual. I ask only 
that what every self-respecting American demands 


4 The Strenuous Life 

from himself and from his sons shall be demanded 
of the American nation as a whole. Who among 
you would teach your boys that ease, that peace, 
is to be the first consideration in their eyes — to be 
the ultimate goal after which they strive? You 
men of Chicago have made this city great, you men 
of Illinois have done your share, and more than 
your share, in making America great, because you 
neither preach nor practise such a doctrine. You 
work yourselves, nd you bring up your sons to 
work. If you are rich and are worth your salt, 
you will teach your sons that though they may 
have leisure, it is not to be spent in idleness ; for 
wisely used leisure merely means that those who 
possess it, being free from the necessity of working 
for their livelihood, are all the more botmd to carry 
on some kind of non-remtmerative work in science, 
in letters, in art, in exploration, in historical 
research — work of the t3rpe we most need in this 
country, the successful carrying out of which 
reflects most honor upon the nation. We do not 
admire the man of timid peace. We admire the 
man who embodies victorious effort ; the man who 
never wrongs his neighbor, who is prompt to help 
a friend, but who has those virile qualities neces- 
sary to win in the stem strife of actual life. It is 
hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to 
succeed. In this life we get nothing save by effort. 
Freedom from effort in the present merely means 


The Strenuous Life 5 

that there has been stored up effort in the past. 
A man can be freed from the necessity of work 
only by the fact that he or his fathers before him 
have worked to good purpose. If the freedom 
thus purchased is used aright, and the man still 
does actual work, though of a different kind, 
whether as a writer or a general, whether in the 
field of politics or in the field of exploration and 
adventure, he shows he deserves his good forttme. 
But if he treats this period of freedom from the 
need of actual labor as a period, not of prepara- 
tion, but of mere enjoyment, even though perhaps 
not of vicious enjoyment, he shows that he is sim- 
ply a cumberer of the earth's surface, and he 
surely unfits himself to hold his own with his 
fellows if the need to do so should again arise. A 
mere life of ease is not in the end a very satisfac- 
tory life, and, above all, it is a life which ultimately 
unfits those who follow it for serious work in the 

In the last analysis a healthy state can exist 
only when the men and women who make it up 
lead clean, vigorous, healthy lives; when the 
children are so trained that they shall endeavor, 
not to shirk difficulties, but to overcome them; 
not to seek ease, but to know how to wrest tri- 
umph from toil and risk. The man must be glad 
to do a man's work, to dare and endure and to 
labor ; to keep himself, and to keep those dependent 

6 The Strenuous Life 

upon him. The woman must be the house-wife, 
the helpmeet of the homemaker, the wise and 
fearless mother of many healthy children. In 
one of Daudet's powerful and melancholy books 
he speaks of "the fear of maternity, the hatmting 
terror of the young wife of the present day." When 
such words can be truthfully written of a nation, 
that nation is rotten to the heart's core. When 
'men fear work or fear righteous war, when women 
fear motherhood, they tremble on the brink of 
doom ; and well it is that they should vanish from 
the earth, where they are fit subjects for the scorn 
of all men and women who are themselves strong 
and brave and high-minded. 

As it is with the individual, so it is with the 
nation. It is a base untruth to say that happy is 
the nation that has no history. Thrice happy is 
the nation that has a glorious history. Far better 
it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious tri- 
umphs, even though checkered by failure, than to 
take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy 
much nor suffer much, because they live in the 
gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat. 
If in 1 86 1 the men who loved the Union had be- 
lieved that peace was the end of all things, and 
war and strife the worst of all things, and had 
acted up to their belief, we would have saved him- 
dreds of thousands of lives, we would have saved 
hundreds of millions of dollars. Moreover, besides 

The Strenuous Life 7 

saving all the blood and treasure we then lavished, 
we wotild have prevented the heartbreak of many 
women, the dissolution of many homes, and we 
would have spared the country those months of 
gloom and shame when it seemed as if otir armies 
marched only to defeat. We could have avoided 
all this suffering simply by shrinking from strife. 
And if we had thus avoided it, we would have 
shown that we were weaklings, and that we were 
unfit to stand among the great nations of the earth. 
Thank God for the iron in the blood of our fathers, 
the men who upheld the wisdom of Lincoln, and 
bore sword or rifle in the armies of Grant I Let! 
us, the diJLldren_pf the men who proved them- 
selves equal to the mighty days, let us, the chil- 
dren of the inisn who carried the great Civil War 
to a triumphant conclusion, praise the God of 
our fathers that the ignoble cotmsels of peace 
were rejected; that the suffering and loss, the 
blackness of sorrow and despair, were tmflinch- 
ingly faced, and the years of strife endured; for 
in the end the slave was freed, the Union re- 
stored, and the mighty American republic placed 
once more as a helmeted queen among nations. 
We of this generation do not have to face a taskj 
such as that our fathers faced, but we have otir 
tasks, and woe to us if we fail to perform them! 
We cannot, if we would, play the £artjoL-Oii?ia, 
and be content to rot by inches in ignoble ease 

8 The Strenuous Life 

within our borders, taking no interest in what 
goes on beyond them, sunk in a scrambling com- 
mercialism ; heedless of the higher life, the life of 
aspiration, of toil and risk, busying ourselves only 
with the wants of our bodies for the day, until 
suddenly we should find, beyond a shadow of 
question, what China has already found, that in 
this worid the nation that has trained itself to a 
career of unwarlike and isolated ease is botmd, in 
the end, to go down before other nations which 
have not lost the manly and adventurous qualities. 
If we are to be a really great people, we must strive 
in good faith to play a great part in the world. We 
cannot avoid meeting great issues. All that we 
can determine for ourselves is whether we shall 
meet them well or ill. In 1898 we could not help 
being brought face to face with the problem of 
war with Spain. All we could decide was whether 
we should shrink like cowards from the contest, 
or enter into it as beseemed a brave and high 
spirited people ; and, once in, whether failure or 
success should crown our banners. So it is now. 
/ We cannot avoid the responsibilities that confront 
us in Hawaii, Cuba, Porto Rico, and the Philip- 
pines. All we can decide is whether we shall meet 
them in a way that will redound to the national 
credit, or whether we shall make of our dealings 
with these new problems a dark and shameful page 
in our history. To refuse to deal with them at all 


The Strenuous Life 9 

merely amotints to dealing with them badly. We 
have a given problem to solve. If we tmdertake 
the solution, there is, of course, alwa5rs danger that 
we may not solve it aright ; but to refuse to under- 
take the solution simply renders it certain that we 
cannot possibly solve it aright. The timid man, 
the lazy man, the man who distrusts his country, 
the over-civilized man, who has lost the great fight- 
ing, masterful virtues, the ignorant man, and the 
man of dull mind, whose soul is incapable of feeling 
the mighty lift that thrills "stem men with em- 
pires in their brains" — all these, of course, shrink 
from seeing the nation undertake its new duties ; 
shrink from seeing us build a navy and an army 
adequate to our needs ; shrink from seeing us do 
our share of the world's work, by bringing order 
out of chaos in the great, fair tropic islands from 
which the valor' of our soldiers and sailors has 
driven the Spanish flag. These are the men who 
fear i^e strenuous life, who fear the only national 
life which is really worth leading^^ They believe 
in that cloistered life which saps the hardy virtues 
in a nation, as it saps them in the individual ; or 
else they are wedded to that base spirit of gain and 
greed which recognizes in commercialism the be-all 
and end-all of national life, instead of realizing 
that, though an indispensable element, it is, after 
all, but one of the many elements that go to make 
up true national greatness. No country can long 

lo The Strenuous Life 

endure if its foundations are not laid deep in the 
material prosperity which comes from thrift, from 
business energy and enterprise, from hard, un- 
sparing effort in the fields of industrial activity; 
but neither was any nation ever yet truly great 
if it relied upon material prosperity alone. All 
honor must be paid to the architects of our 
material prosperity, to the great captains of 
industry who have built our factories and our 
railroads, to the strong men who toil for wealth 
with brain or hand ; for great is the debt of the 
nation to these and their kind. But our debt is 
yet greater to the men whose highest type is to 
be fotmd in a statesman like Lincoln, a soldier like 
Grant. They showed by their lives that they 
recognized the law of work, the law of strife ; they 
toiled to win a competence for themselves and 
f those dependent upon them ; but they recognized 
\ that there were yet other and even loftier duties — 
duties to the nation and duties to the race.\ 

We cannot sit huddled within our own borders 
and avow ourselves merely an assemblage of 
well-to-do hucksters who care nothing for what 
happens beyond. Such a policy would defeat 
even its own end ; for as the nations grow to have 
ever wider and wider interests, and are brought 
into closer and closer contact, if we are to hold 
our own in the struggle for naval and commercial 
supremacy, we must build up otu* power without 

The Strenuous Life ix 

our own bor^er3. We must build the isthmian 
canal^ and we must grasp the points of vantage 
which will enable us to have our say in deciding 
the destiny of the oceans of the East and the West. 

So much for the commercial side. From the 
standpoint of international honor the argument is 
even stronger. The guns that thundered off 
Manila and Santiago left us echoes of glory, but 
they also left us a legacy of duty. If we drove otiFT 
a medieval t)n:anny only to make room for savageV 
anarchy, we had better not have begun the taskjr 
at all. It is worse than idle to say that we have 
no duty to perform, and can leave to their fates 
the islands we have conquered. Such a course 
would be the course of infamy. It would be fol- 
lowed at once by utter chaos in the wretched 
islands themselves. Some stronger, manlienpowCT 
would have to step in and do the work, and we 
would have shown ourselves weaklings, unable to 
carry to successful completion the labors that 
great and high-spirited nations are eager to under- 

The work mt^ust be.dpne ; we cannot escape our 
responsjbifity ; and if we are worth otir salt, we 
shall be glad of the chance to do the work — glad 
of the chance to show ourselves equal to one of 
the great tasks set modem civilization. But let 
us not deceive ourselves as to the importance of 
the task. Let us not be misled by vainglory into 

x9 The Strenuous Life 

iinderestimating the strain tt will put on otir 
powers. Above all, let us, as we value our own 
self-respect, face the responsibilities with proper 
seriousness, courage, and high resolve. We must 
demand the highest order of integrity and ability 
in our public men who are to grapple with these 
new problems. We must hold to a rigid accotmt- 
ability those public servants who show unfaithful- 
ness to the interests of the nation or inability to 
rise to the high level of the new demands upon otir 
strength and otu* resources. 

Of course we must remember not to judge any 
public servant by any one act, and especially 
should we beware of attacking the men who are 
merely the occasions and not the causes of dis- 
aster. Let me illustrate what I mean by the army 
and the navy. If twenty years ago we had gone 
to war, we should have foimdj^he navy as abso- 
lutely unprepared as the armyT^ At that time our 
ships could not have encounter^ with success the 
fleets of Spain any more than nowadays we can 
put tmtrained soldiers, no matter how brave, who 
are armed with archaic black-powder weapons, 
against well-drilled regulars armed with the high- 
est type of modem repeating rifles. But in the 
early eighties the attention of the nation became 
directed to otu* naval needs. Congress most 
wisely made a series of appropriations to build 
up a new navy, and under a succession of able and 

The Strenuous Life 13 

patriotic secretaries, of both political parties, the 
navy was gradtially built up, until its material 
became equal to its splendid personnel, with the 
result that in the summer of 1898 it leaped to its 
proper place as one of the most brilliant and for- 
midable fighting navies in the entire worid. We 
rightly pay all honor to the men controlling the 
navy at the time it won these great deeds, honor 
to Secretary Long and Admiral Dewey, to the cap- 
tains who handled the ships in action, to the daring 
lieutenants who braved death in the smaller craft, 
and to the heads of bureaus at Washington who 
saw that the ships were so commanded, so armed, 
so equipped, so well engined, as to insure the best 
restdts. But let us also keep ever in mind that all 
of this would not have availed if it had not been 
for the wisdom of the men who during the pre- 
ceding fifteen years had built up the navy. Keep 
in mind the secretaries of the navy dtmng those 
years ; keep in mind the senators and congressmen 
who by their votes gave the money necessary to 
build and to armor the ships, to construct the 
great guns, and to train the crews ; remember also 
those who actually did build the ships, the armor, 
and the gims; and remember the admirals and 
captains who handled battleship, cruiser, and tor- 
p^o-boat on the high seas, alone and in squadrons, 
developing the seamanship, the gunnery, and the 
power of acting together, which their successors 

14 The Strenuous Life 

utilized so gloriously at Manila and of! Santiago. 
And, gentlemen, remember the converse, too. 
Remember that justice has two sides. Be just to 
those who built up the navy, and, for the sake of 
the future of the cotmtry, keep in mind those who 
opposed its building up. Read the "Congres- 
sional Record." Find out the senators and con- 
gressmen who opposed the grants for building the 
new ships; who opposed the purchase of armor, 
without which the ships were worthless; who 
opposed any adequate maintenance for the Navy 
Department, and strove to cut down the niunber 
of men necessary to man our fleets. The men who 
did these things were one and all working to bring 
disaster on the cotmtry. They have no share in 
the glory of Manila, in the honor of Santiago. 
They have no cause to feel proud of the valor of 
our sea-captains, of the renown of our flag. Their 
motives may or may not have been good, but their 
acts were heavily fraught with evil. They did ill 
for the national honor, and we won in spite of their 
sinister opposition. 

Now, apply all this to our public men of to-day. 
Our army has never been built up as it should be 
built up. I shall not discuss with an audience like 
this the puerile suggestion that a nation of seventy 
millions of freemen is in danger of losing its liber- 
ties from the existence of an army of one himdred 
thousand men, three-fourths of whom will be em- 


The Strenuous Life 15 

ployed in certain foreign islands, in certain coast 
fortresses, and on Indian reservations! No man 
of good sense and stout heart can talce such a 
proposition seriously. If we are such weaklings 
as tiie proposition implies, then we are unworthy 
of freedom in any event. To no body of men in 
the United States is the cotmtry so much indebted 
as to the splendid officers and enlisted men of the 
regular army and navy. There is no body from 
which the cotmtry has less to fear, and none of 
which it should be prouder, none which it should 
be more anxious to upbuild. 

Our army needs complete reorganization, — not 
merely enlarging, — ^and the reorganization can 
only come as the result of legislation. A proper 
general staff should be established,, and the posi- 
tions of ordnance, commissary, and quartermaster 
officers should be filled by detail from the line. 
Above all, the army mtist be given the chance to 
exercise in large bodies. Never again should we 
see, as we saw in the Spanish war, major-generals 
in command of divisions who had never before 
commanded three companies together in the field. 
Yet, incredible to relate. Congress has shown a 
queer inability to learn some of the lessons of the 
war. There were large bodies of men in both 
branches who opposed the declaration of war, 
who opposed the ratification of peace, who op- 
posed the upbuilding of the army, and who even 

x6 The Strenuous Life 

opposed the purchase of armor at a reasonable 
price for the battleships and cruisers, thereby 
putting an absolute stop to the building of any- 
new fighting-ships for the navy. If, dtmng the 
years to come, any disaster should befall our arms, 
afloat or ashore, and thereby any shame come to 
the United States, remember that the blame will 
lie upon the men whose names appear upon the 
roll-calls of Congress on the wrong side of these 
great questions. On them will lie the burden of 
any loss of our soldiers and sailors, of any dishonor 
to the flag; and upon you and the people of this 
cotmtry will lie the blame if you do not repudiate, 
in no unmistakable way, what these men have 
done. The blame will not rest upon the un- 
trained commander of imtried troops, upon the 
civil officers of a department the organization of 
which has been left utterly inadequate, or upon 
the admiral with an insufficient nimiber of ships ; 
but upon the public men who have so lamentably 
failed in forethought as to refuse to remedy these 
evils long in advance, and upon the nation that 
stands behind those public men. 

So, at the present hour, no small share of the 
responsibility for the blood shed in the Philip- 
1 pines, the blood of our brothers, and the blood of 
their wild and ignorant foes, lies at the thresholds 
of those who so long delayed the adoption of the 
treaty of peace, and of those who by their worse 

The Strenuous Life 17 

than foolish words deliberately invited a savage 
people to plunge into a war fraught with stu-e dis- 
aster for them — a war, too, in which our own 
brave men who follow the flag must pay with their 
blood for the silly, mock humanitarianism of the 
prattlers who sit at home in peace. 

The army and the navy are the sword and the 
shield which this nation must carry if she is to do 
her duty among the nations of the earth — ^if she 
is not to stand merely as the China of the western 
hemisphere. Our proper conduct toward the 
tropic islands we have wrested from Spain is 
merely the form which our duty has taken at the 
moment. Of course we are boimd to handle the 
affairs of our own household well. We must see 
that there is civic honesty, civic cleanliness, civic 
good sense in our home administration of city, 
State, and nation. We must strive for honesty in 
office, for honesty toward the creditors of the 
nation and of the individual ; for the widest free- 
dom of individual initiative where possible, and 
for the wisest control of individual initiative where 
it is hostile to the welfare of the many. But 
because we set our own household in order we are 
not thereby excused from pla3ring our part in the 
great affairs of the world. A man's first duty is 
to his own home, but he is not thereby excused 
from doing his duty to the State ; for if he fails 
in this second duty it is imder the penalty of 

x8 The Strenuous Life 

ceasing to be a freeman. In the same way, while 
a nation's first duty is within its own borders, it is 
not thereby absolved from facing its duties in the 
world as a whole; and if it refuses to do so, it 
merely forfeits its right to struggle for a place 
among the peoples that shape the destiny of man- 

In the West Indies and the Philippines alike 
we are confronted by most difRcult problems. It 
is cowardly to shrink from solving them in the 
proper way ; for solved they must be, if not by us, 
. ^ then by some stronger and more manftd race. If 

^ we are too weak, too selfish, or too foolish to solve 

them, some bolder and abler people must imder- 
take the solution. Personally, I am far too firm a 
believer in the greatness of my coimtry and the 
power of my coimtrymen to admit for one moment 
that we shall ever be driven to the ignoble alterna- 

The problems are different for the different 
islands. Porto Rico is not large enough to stand 
alone. We must govern it wisely and well, pri- 
marily in the interest of its own people. Cuba is, 
in my judgment, entitled ultimately to settle for 
itself whether it shall be an independent state or 
an integral portion of the mightiest of republics. 
But tmtil order and stable liberty are secured, we 
must remain in the island to insure them, and 
infinite tact, judgment, moderation, and courage 


The Strenuous Life 19 

must be shown by otir military and civil repre- 
sentatives in keeping the island pacified, in relent- 
lessly stamping out brigandage, in protecting all 
alike, and yet in showing proper recognition to 
the men who have fought for Cuban liberty. The 
Philippines offer a yet graver problem. Their 
population includes half-caste and native Chris- 
tians, warlike Moslems, and wild pagans. Many 
of their people are utterly unfit for self-govern- 
ment and show no signs of becoming fit. Others 
may in time become fit but at present can only 
take part in self-government under a wise super- 
vision, at once firm and beneficent. We have 
driven Spanish tyranny from t^ islands. If we 
now let it be replaced by(^savage anarchy; otir 
work has been for harm and iiot- for'"go od; 1 have 
scant patience with those who fear to undertake 
the task of governing the Philippines, and who 
openly avow that they do fear to imdertake it, 
or that they shrink from it because of the expense 
and trouble; but I have even scanter patience 
with those who make a pretense of hujnanitarian- 
ism to hide and cover their timidity, and who cant 
about "liberty" and the "consent of the gov- 
erned," in order to excuse themselves for their 
unwillingness to play the part of men. Their doc- 
trines, if carried outp^'ould make it incumbent 
upon us to leave the Apaches of Arizona to work 
out their own salvation, and to decline to interfere 


The Strenuous Life 

in a single Indian reservation. Their doctrines 
condemn your forefathers and mine for ever 
^having settled in these United States. 

England's rule in India and Eg>^pt has been of 
great benefit to England, for it has trained up 
generations of men accustomed to look at the 
larger and loftier side of public life. It has been 
of even greater benefit to India and Egypt. And 
finally, and most of all, it has advanced the cause 

-N |[ of civilization. So, if we do our duty aright in 
the Philippines, we will add to that national 
renown which is the highest and finest part of 
national life, will greatly benefit the people of the 
Philippine Islands, and, above all, we will play 
our part well in the great work of uplifting man- 
kind. But to do this work, keep ever in mind 
that we must show in a very high degree the 
/qualities of courage, of honesty, and of good judg- 

Nv ment. Resistance must be stamped out. The 
TO:^t and all-important work to be done is to estab- 
lish the supremacy of our flag. We must put 
down armed resistance before we can accomplish 
anything else, and there should be no parlejdng, 
no faltering, in dealing with our foe. As for those 
in oiu: own country who encourage the foe, we can 
afford contemptuously to disregard them ; but it 
must be remembered that their utterances are not 
. saved from being treasonable merely by the fact 
that they are despicable. 

The Strenuous Life ai 

When once we have put down armed resistance, 
when once our rule is acknowledged, then an even 
more difficult task will begin, for then we must see 
to it that the islands are administered with abso- 
lute honesty and with good judgment. If we let 
the public service of the islands be turned into the 
prey of the spoils politician, we shall have begun 
to tread the path which Spain trod to her own 
destruction. We must send out there only good 
and able men, chosen for their fitness, and not 
because of their partisan service, and these men 
must not only administer impartial justice to the 
natives and serve their own government with 
honesty and fidelity, but must show the utmost 
tact and firmness, remembering that, with such 
people as those with whom we are to deal, weak- 
ness is the greatest of crimes, and that next to 
weakness comes lack of consideration for their 
principles and prejudices. 

I preach to you, then, my coimtrymen, that our 
country caljLs not for the life of ease but for the life 
of strenuous endeavor^ The twentieth centtuy 
looms before us big with the fate of many nations. 
If we stand idly by, if we seek merely swollen, 
slothful ease and ignoble peace, if we shrink from 
the hard contests where men must win at hazard 
of their lives and at the risk of all they hold dear, 
liien the bolder and stronger peoples will pass us 
\by, and will win for themselves the domination 

22 The Strenuous Life 

of the world. Let us therefore boldly face the 
life of strife, resolute to do our duty well and man- 
fully; resolute to uphold righteousness by deed 
and by word; resolute to be both honest and 
brave, to serve high ideals, yet to use practical 
methods. Above all, let us shrink from no strife, 
moral or physical, within or without the nation, 
provided we are certain that the strife is justified, 
for it is only through strife, through hard and dan- 
gerous endeavor, that we shall ultimately win the 
goal of true national greatness. 


Published in thb ''Independent/' December 21, 1899 





T was the gentlest of our poets who wrote: 

"Be bolde! Be bolde! and everywhere, Be bolde"; 
Be not too bold! Yet better the excess 
Than the defect ; better the more than less. 

Longfellow's love of peace was profound ; but he 
was a man, and a wise man, and he knew that 
cowardice does not promote peace, and that even 
the great evil of war may be a less evil than 
cringing to iniquity. 

Captain Mahan, than whom there is not in the 
coimtry a man whom we can more appropriately 
designate by the fine and high phrase, **a Chris- 
tian gentleman," and who is incapable of advo- 
cating wrong-doing of any kind, national or indi- 
vidual, gives utterance to the feeling ^ the great 
majority o^ manly and thoughtful m^when he 
denotmces M;he great danger of indiscriminate 
advocacy of peace at any price, because "it may 
lead men to tamper with iniquity, to compromise 
with imrighteousness, soothing their conscience 
with the belief that war is so entirely wrong that 
beside it no other tolerated evil is wrong. Witness 
Armenia and witness Crete. War has been 
avoided; but what of the national consciences 


26 The Strenuous Life 

that beheld such iniqtiity and withheld the 

Peace is a great good; and doubly harmful, 
therefore, is the attitude of those who advocate 
it in terms that would make it synonymous with 
selfish and cowardly shrinking from warring 
against the existence of evil. The wisest and 
most far-seeing champions of peace will ever 
remember that, in the first place, to be good it 
must be righteous, for unrighteous and cowardly 
peace may be worse than any war; and, in the 
second place, that it can often be obtained only 
at the cost of war. Let me take two illustrations : 

The great blot upon European international 
morality in the closing decade of this century 
has been not a war, but the infamous peace kept 
by the joint action of the great powers, while 
Turkey inflicted the last horrors of butchery, 
torture, and outrage upon the men, women, and 
children of despairing Armenia. War was 
avoided; peace was kept; but what a peace! 
Infinitely greater human misery was inflicted 
during this peace than in the late wars of Ger- 
many with France, of Russia with Turkey; and 
this misery fell, not on armed men, but upon 
defenseless women and children, upon the gray- 
beard and the stripling no less than upon the 
head of the family ; and it came, not in the mere 
form of death or impnsonment, but of tortiu'es 

Expansion and Peace 27 

upon men, and, above all, upon women, too 
horrible to relate — tortures of which it is too 
terrible even to think. Moreover, no good re- 
sulted from the bloodshed and misery. Often 
this is the case in a war, but often it is not the 
case. The result of the last Turko-Rtissian war 
was an immense and permanent increase of happi- 
ness for Bulgaria, Servia, Bosnia, and Herze- 
govina. These provinces became independent or 
passed imder the dominion of Austria, and the 
advantage that accrued to them because of this 
expansion of the domain of civilization at the 
expense of barbarism has been simply incal- 
culable. This expansion produced peace, and put 
a stop to the ceaseless, grinding, bloody tjn^anny 
that had desolated the Balkans for so many 
centuries. There are many excellent people who 
have praised Tolstoi's fantastic religious doc- 
trines, his fantastic advocacy of peace. The 
same quality that makes the debauchee and the 
devotee alternate in certain decadent families, 
the hysterical development which leads to violent 
emotional reaction in a morbid nature from vice 
to virtue, also leads to the creation of Tolstoi's 
"Kreutzer Sonata" on the one hand, and of his 
tmhealthy peace-mysticism on the other. A sane 
and healthy mind would be as incapable of the 
moral degradation of the novel as of the decadent 
morality of the philosophy. If Tolstoi's country- 

38 The Strenuoo* Life 

men had acted according to his moral theories 
they wotdd now be extinct, and savages would 
have taken their place. Unjust war is a terrible 
sin. It does not nowadays in the aggregate cause 
anything like the misery that is caused in the 
aggregate by imjust dealing toward one's neigh- 
bors in the commercial and social worid ; and to 
condemn all war is just as logical as to condemn 
all business and all social relations, as to condemn 
love and marriage because of the frightful misery 
caused by brutal and imregulated passion. If 
Russia had acted upon Tolstoi's philosophy, all 
its people would long ago have disappeared from 
the face of the earth, and the cotintry would now 
be occupied by wandering tribes of Tartar bar- 
barians. The Armenian massacres are simply 
illustrations on a small scale of what would take 
place on the very largest scale if Tolstoi's prin- 
ciples became imiversal among civilized people. 
It is not necessary to point out that the teaching 
which would produce such a condition of things 
is fundamentally immoral. 

Again, peace may come only through war. 
There are men in our cotintry who seemingly 
forget that at the outbreak of the Civil War the 
great cry raised by the opponents of the war was 
the cry for peace. One of the most amusing and 
most biting satires written by the friends of tinion 
and liberty diuing the Civil War was called the 

Expafliion and Peace 29 

"New Gospel of Peace," in derision of this atti- 
tude. The men in our own cotintry who, in the 
name of peace, have been encouraging Aguinaldo 
and his people to shoot down our soldiers in the 
Philippines might profit not a little if they would 
look back to the days of the bloody draft riots, 
which were deliberately incited in the name of 
peace and free speech, when the mob killed men 
and women in the streets and btimed orphan 
children in the asyltims as a protest against the 
war. Four years of bloody struggle with an 
armed foe, who was helped at every ttim by the 
self-styled advocates of peace, were needed in 
order to restore the Union; but the result has 
been that the peace of this continent has been 
eflfectually assured. Had the short-sighted advo- 
cates of peace for the moment had their way, and 
secession become an actual fact, nothing could 
have prevented a repetition in North America of 
the devastating anarchic warfare that obtained 
for three quarters of a century in South America 
after the yoke of Spain was thrown off. We 
escaped generations of anarchy and bloodshed, 
because our fathers who upheld Lincoln and 
followed Grant were men in every sense of the 
term, with too much common sense to be misled 
by those who preached that war was alwajrs 
wrong, and with a fund of stem virtue deep in 
their souls which enabled them to do deeds from 

30 The Strenuous Life 

which men of over-soft nattires would have 
shrunk appalled. 

Wars between civilized communities are very 
dreadful, and as nations grow more and more 
civilized we have every reason, not merely to 
hope, but to believe that they will grow rarer 
and rarer. Even with civilized peoples, as was 
shown by our own experience in 1861, it may be 
necessary at last to draw the sword rather than 
to submit to wrong-doing. But a very marked 
feature in the world-history of the present century 
has been the groT?vnng infrequency of wars between 
great civilized nations. The Peace Conference at 
The Hague is but one of the signs of this growth. 
I am among those who believe that much was 
accomplished at that conference, and I am proud 
of the leading position taken in the conference by 
our delegates. Incidentally I may mention that 
the testimony is tinanimous that they were able 
to take this leading position chiefly becatise we 
had just emerged victorious from our most 
righteous war with Spain. Scant attention is 
paid to the weakling or the coward who babbles 
of peace; but due heed is given to the strong 
man with sword girt on thigh who preaches 
peace, not from ignoble motives, not from fear 
or distrust of his own powers, but from a deep 
sense of moral obligation. 

The growth of peacefulness between nations, 

Expansion and Peace 31 

however, has been confined strictly to those that 
are civilized. It can only come when both parties 
to a possible quarrel feel the same spirit. With a 
barbarous nation peace is the exceptional con- 
dition. On the border between civilization and 
barbarism war is generally normal because it 
must be under the conditions of barbarism. 
Whether the barbarian be the Red Indian on the 
frontier of the United States, the Afghan on the 
border of British India, or the Turkoman who 
confronts the Siberian Cossack, the result is the 
same. In the long nm civilized man finds he 
can keep the peace only by subduing his bar- 
barian neighbor ; for the barbarian will yield only 
to force, save in instances so exceptional that 
they may be disregarded. Back of the force 
must come fair dealing, if the peace is to be 
permanent. But without force fair dealing usu- 
ally amotmts to nothing. In our history we have 
had more trouble from the Indian tribes whom 
we pampered and petted than from those we 
wronged; and this has been true in Siberia, 
Hindustan, and Africa. 

Every expansion of civilization makes for peace. 
In other words, every expansion of a great ^.* 

civilized power means a victory for law, order, y^\ 
and righteousness. This has been the case in 
every instance of expansion during the present 
century, whether the expanding power were 

82 The Strenuous Life 

France or England, Russia or America. In every 
instance the expansion has been of benefit, not 
so much to the power nominally benefited, as to 
the whole world. In every instance the result 
proved that the expanding power was doing a 
duty to civilization far greater and more impor- 
tant than could have been done by any stationary 
power. Take the case of France and Algiers. 
During the early decades of the present century 
piracy of the most dreadful description was rife 
on the Mediterranean, and thousands of civilized 
men were yeariy dragged into slavery by the 
Moorish pirates. A degrading peace was pur- 
chased by the civilized powers by the payment of 
tribute. Our own coimtry was one among the 
tributary nations which thus paid blood-money 
to the Moslem bandits of the sea. We fought 
occasional battles with them ; and so, on a larger 
scale, did the English. But peace did not follow, 
because the cotintry was not occupied. Our last 
payment was made in 1830, and the reason it 
was the last was because in that year the French 
conquest of Algiers began. Foolish sentimen- 
talists, like those who wrote little poems in favor 
of the Mahdists against the English, and who now 
write little essays in favor of Aguinaldo against 
the Americans, celebrated the Algerian free- 
booters as heroes who were striving for liberty 
against the invading French. But the French 

Expansion and Peace 33 

continued to do their work; France expanded 
over Algiers, and the result was that piracy on 
the Mediterranean came to an end, and Algiers 
has thriven as never before in its history. On 
an even larger scale the same thing is true of 
England and the Sudan. The expansion of Eng- 
land throughout the Nile valley has been an 
incalculable gain for civilization. Any one who 
reads the writings of the Austrian priests and 
laymen who were prisoners in the Sudan under 
the Mahdi will realize that when England crushed 
him and conquered the Sudan she conferred a 
priceless boon upon htmianity and made the 
civilized world her debtor. Again, the same 
thing is true of the Russian advance in Asia. As 
in the Sudan the English conquest is followed by 
peace, and the endless massacres of the Mahdi 
are stopped forever, so the Russian conquest of 
the khanates of central Asia meant the cessation 
of the barbarous warfare under which Asian 
civilization had steadily withered away since the 
days of Jenghiz Khan, and the substitution in 
its place of the reign of peace and order. All 
civilization has been the gainer by the Russian 
advance, as it was the gainer by the advance of 
France in North Africa ; as it has been the gainer 
by the advance of England in both Asia and 
Africa, both Canada and Australia. Above all, 
there has been the greatest possible gain in peace. 


34 The Strenuous Life 

The rule of law and of order has succeeded to the 
rule of barbarous and bloody violence. Until the 
great civilized nations stepped in there was no 
chance for anything but such bloody violence. 

So it has been in the history of our own 
country. Of course our whole national history 
has been one of expansion. Under Washington 
and Adams we expanded westward to the Mis- 
sissippi ; under Jefferson we expanded across the 
continent to the mouth of the Columbia; under 
Monroe we expanded into Florida ; and then into 
Texas and California ; and finally, largely through 
the instrumentality of Seward, into Alaska ; while 
tmder every administration the process of expan- 
sion in the great plains and the Rockies has con- 
tinued with growing rapidity. While we had a 
frontier the chief feature of frontier life was the 
endless war between the settlers and the red men. 
Sometimes the immediate occasion for the war 
was to be foimd in the conduct of the whites and 
sometimes in that of the reds, but the ultimate 
cause was simply that we were in contact with a 
coimtry held by savages or half -savages. Where 
we abut on Canada there is no danger of war, nor 
is there any danger where we abut on the well- 
settled regions of Mexico. But elsewhere war had 
to continue until we expanded over the country. 
Then it was succeeded at once by a peace which 
has remained unbroken to the present day. In 

Expansion and Peace 35 

North America, as elsewhere throughout the 
entire world, the expansion of a civilized nation 
has invariably meant the growth of the area in 
which peace is normal throughout the world. 

The same will be true of the Philippines. If 
the men who have coimseled national degradation, 
national dishonor, by urging us to leave ttie Philip- 
pines and put the Aguinaldan oligarchy in control 
of those islands, could have their way, we should 
merely turn them over to rapine and bloodshed 
until some stronger, manlier power stepped in to 
do the task we had shown ourselves fearful of 
performing. But, as it is, this coimtry will keep 
the islands and will establish therein a stable and 
orderly government, so that one more fair spot 
of the world's surface shall have been snatched 
from the forces of darkness. Fimdamentally the 
cause of expansion is the cause of peace. 

With civilized powers there is but little danger 
of our getting into war. In the Pacific, for 
instance, the great progressive, colonizing nations 
are England and Germany. With England we 
have recently begun to feel ties of kindness as 
well as of kinship, and with her our relations are 
better than ever before ; and so they ought to be 
with Germany. Recently affairs in Samoa have 
been straightened out, although there we suffered 
from the worst of all types of government, one in 
which three powers had a joint responsibility (the 

36 The Strenuous Life 

type, by the way, which some of the anti-imperi- 
alists actually advocated our introducing in the 
Philippines, under the pretense of rendering them 
neutral). This was accomplished very largely 
because the three nations set good-humoredly to 
work to come to an agreement which would do 
justice to all. In the preliminary negotiations 
the agents of America and Germany were Mr. 
Tripp and Baron Stemburg. No difficulty can 
ever arise between Germany and the United 
States which will not be settled with satisfaction 
to both, if the negotiations are conducted by such 
representatives of the two powers as these two 
men. What is necessary is to approach the sub- 
ject, not with a desire to get ahead of one another, 
but to do even and exact justice, and to put into 
operation a scheme which will work, while scrupu- 
lously conserving the honor and interest of all 

Nations that expand and nations that do not 
expand may both ultimately go down, but the 
one leaves heirs and a glorious memory, and the 
other leaves neither. The Roman expanded, and 
he has left a memory which has profoimdly 
influenced the history of mankind, and he has* 
further left as the heirs of his body, and, above 
all, of his tongue and culture, the so-called Latin 
peoples of Europe and America. Similarly to-day 
it is the great expanding peoples which bequeath 

Expansion and Peace 37 

to future ages the great memories and material 
results of their achievements, and the nations 
which shall have sprung from their loins, England 
standing as the archetype and best exemplar of 
all such mighty nations. But the peoples that do 
not expand leave, and can leave, nothing behind 

It is only the warlike power of a civilized people 
that can give peace to the world. The Arab 
wrecked the civilization of the Mediterranean 
coasts, the Turk wrecked the civilization of south- 
eastern Europe, and the Tatar desolated from 
China to Russia and to Persia, setting back the 
progress of the world for centuries, solely because 
the civilized nations opposed to them had lost 
t]j^e great fighting qualities, and, in becoming 
c ov erpeaceful. had^pst the power of keeping peace 
with a strong han^ Their passing away marked 
the beginning of a period of chaotic barbarian 
warfare. Those whose memories are not so short 
as to have forgotten the defeat of the Greeks by 
the Turks, of the Italians by the Abyssinians, 
and the feeble campaigns waged by Spain against 
feeble Morocco, must realize that at the present 
moment the Mediterranean coasts would be over- 
nm either by the Turks or by the Sudan Mahdists 
if these warlike barbarians had only to fear 
those southern European powers which have lost 
the fighting edge. Such a barbarian conquest 

ai The Strenuous Life 

wocid rriean <T<fTfss war; acd the fact that : 
adays the reverse takes place, and that the bar- 
barians recede cr are ccnquered. with the attend- 
ant fact that peace fcZcws their leiiugies sin n or 
cocc:iest, is due sclely to the power of the migjity 
dvilizcd races which have not lost the fitting 
instinct, and which bv their expansion are grad- 
zsiT.j bringing peace into the red wastes where 
the barbarian oect^les of the world hold swav. 


Published in thb "Century." Junb, X900 




ONE of Miss Mary E. Wilkins's delightful 
heroines remarks, in speaking of certain 
would-be leaders of social reform in her 
village: "I don't know that I think they are so 
much above us as too far to one side. Sometimes 
it is longitude and sometimes it is latitude that 
separates people." This is true, and the philos- 
ophy it teaches applies quite as much to those 
who would reform the politics of a large city, or, 
for that matter, of the whole coimtry, as to those 
who would reform the society of a hamlet. 

There is always danger of being misimderstood 
when one writes about such a subject as this, 
because there are on each side unhealthy extrem- 1 
ists who like to take half of any statement and I 
twist it into an argument in favor of themselves 
or against their opponents. No single sentence 
or two is sufficient to explain a man's full meaning, 
any more than in a sentence or two it would be 
possible to treat the question of the necessity for, 
and the limitations of, proper party loyalty, with 
the thoroughness and justice shown, for instancy 
by Mr. Lecky in his recent queerly named YOlumet 
"The Map of Life." 



42 The Strenuous Life 

All men in whose character there is not an 
element of hardened baseness must admit the 
need in otir public life of those qualities which we 
somewhat vaguely group together when we speak 
of "reform," and all men of sotind mind mtist 
also admit the need of efficiency. There are, of 
course, men of such low moral type, or of such 
ingrained cynicism, that they do not believe in 
the possibility of making anything better, or do 
not care to see things better. There are also men 
who are slightly disordered mentally, or who are 
cursed with a moral twist which makes them 
champion reforms less from a desire to do good 
to others than as a kind of tribute to their own 
righteousness, for the sake of emphasizing their 
own superiority. From neither of these classes 
can we get any real help in the imending struggle 
for righteousness. There remains the great body 
of the people, including the entire body of those 
through whom the salvation of the people must 
ultimately be worked out. All these men com- 
bine or seek to combine in varying degrees the 
quality of striving after the ideal, that is, the 
quality which makes men reformers, and the 
quality of so striving through practical methods — 
the quality which makes men efficient. Both 
qualities are absolutely essential. The absence 
of either makes the presence of the other worth- 
less or worse. 

Latitude and Longitude 43 

If there is one tendency of the day which more 
than any other is unhealthy and tmdesirable, it 
is the tendency to deify mere "smartness," unac- 
companied by a sense of moral accotmtability. 
We shall never make our republic what it should 
be until as a people we thoroughly understand 
and put in practice the doctrine that success is 
abhorrent if attained by the sacrifice of the ftmda- 
mental principles of morality. The successful 
man, whether in business or in politics, who has 
risen by conscienceless swindling of his neighbors, 
by deceit and chicanery, by unscrupulous bold- 
ness and unscrupulous cunning, stands toward 
society as a dangerous wild beast. The mean 
and cringing admiration which such a career 
commands among those who think crookedly or 
not at all makes this kind of success perhaps the 
most dangerous of all the influences that threaten 
our national life. Our standard of public and 
private conduct will never be raised to the proper 
level until we make the scoundrel who succeeds 
feel the weight of a hostile public opinion even 
more strongly than the scoundrel who fails. 

On the other hand, mere beating the air, mere 
visionary adherence to a nebulous and possibly 
highly undesirable ideal, is utterly worthless. The 
cloistered virtue which timidly shrinks from all 
contact with the rough world of actual life, and 
the uneasy, self-conscious vanity which misnames 

44 The Strenuous Life 

itself virtue, and which declines to cooperate with 
whatever does not adopt its own fantastic stand- 
ard, are rather worse than valueless, because they 
tend to rob the forces of good of elements on 
which they ought to be able to count in the 
ceaseless contest with the forces of evil. It is 
true that the impracticable idealist differs from 
the hard-working, sincere man who in practical 
fashion, and by deeds as well as by words, strives 
in some sort actually to realize his ideal ; but the 
difference lies in the fact that the first is imprac- 
ticable, not in his having a high ideal, for the 
ideal of the other may be even higher. At times 
a man must cut loose from his associates, and 
stand alone for a great cause ; but the necessity 
for such action is almost as rare as the necessity 
for a revolution; and to take such ground con- 
tinually, in season and out of season, is the sign 
of an unhealthy nature. It is not possible to lay 
down an inflexible rule as to when compromise 
is right and when wrong; when it is a sign of the 
highest statesmanship to temporize, and when it 
is merely a proof of weakness. Now and then 
one can stand uncompromisingly for a naked 
principle and force people up to it. This is always 
the attractive course; but in certain great crises 
it may be a very wrong course. Compromise, in 
the proper sense, merely means agreement ; in the 
proper sense opporttmism should merely mean 

Latitude and Longitude 45 

doing the best possible with acttial conditions as 
they exist. A compromise which results in a 
half-step toward evil is all wrong, just as the 
opportunist who saves himself for the moment 
by adopting a policy which is fraught with future 
disaster is all wrong; but no less wrong is the 
attitude of those who will not come to an agree- 
ment through which, or will not follow the course 
by which, it is alone possible to accompUsh prac- 
tical results for good. 

These two attitudes, the attitude of deifying 
mere efficiency, mere success, without regard to 
the moral qualities lying behind it, and the atti- 
tude of disregarding efficiency, disregarding prac- 
tical results, are the Scylla and Charybdis between 
which every earnest reformer, every politician who 
desires to make the name of his profession a term 
of honor instead of shame, must steer. He must 
avoid both tmder penalty of wreckage, and it 
avails him nothing to have avoided one, if he 
founders on the other. People are apt to speak 
as if in political life, public life, it ought to be a 
mere case of striving upward — striving toward a 
high peak. The simile is inexact. Every man 
who is striving to do good public work is traveling 
along a ridge crest, with the gulf of failure on 
each side — ^the gulf of inefficiency on the one side, 
the gulf of unrighteousness on the other. All 
kinds of forces are continually playing on him, to 

46 The Strenuous Life 

shove him first into one gulf and then into the 
other; and even a wise and good man, iinless he 
braces himself with uncommon firmness and fore- 
sight, as he is pushed this way and that, will find 
that his course becomes a pronounced zigzag 
instead of a straight line; and if it becomes too 
pronounced he is lost, no matter to which side 
the zigzag may take him. Nor is he lost only as 
regards his own career. What is far more serioxis, 
his power of doing useful service to the public is 
at an end. He may still, if a mere politician, 
have political place, or, if a make-believe re- 
fonner, retain that notoriety upon which his 
vanity feeds. But, in either case, his usefulness 
to the community has ceased. 

The man who sacrifices everything to efficiency 
needs but a short shrift in a discussion like this. 
The abler he is, the more dangerous he is to the 
community. The master and typical representa- 
tive of a great municipal poUtical organization 
recently stated under oath that ** he was in politics 
for his pocket every time." This put in its baldest 
and most cjmically offensive shape the doctrine 
upon which certain public men act. It is not 
necessary to argue its iniquity with those who 
have advanced any great distance beyond the 
brigand theory of political life. Some years ago 
another jpublic man enunciated much the same 
doctrine in the phrase, **The Decalogue and the 

Latitude and Longitude 47 

Golden Rule have no part in political life." Such 
statements, openly made, imply a belief that the 
public conscience is dull ; and where the men who 
make them continue to be political leaders, the 
public has itself to thank for all shortcomings in 
public life. 

The man who is constitutionally incapable of 
working for practical results ought not to need a 
much longer shrift. In every community there 
are little knots of fantastic extremists who loudly 
proclaim that they are striving for righteousness, 
and who, in reality, do their feeble best for un- 
righteousness. Just as the upright politician 
should hold in peculiar scom the man who makes 
the name of politician a reproach and a shame, 
so the genuine reformer should realize that the 
caxise he champions is especially jeopardized by 
the mock reformer who does what he can to make 
reform a laughing-stock among decent men. 

A caustic observer once remarked that when 
Dr. Johnson spoke of patriotism as the last refuge 
of a scotmdrel, "he was ignorant of the infinite 
possibilities contained in the word 'reform.'" 
The sneer was discreditable to the man who 
uttered it, for it is no more possible to justify 
corruption by railing at those who by their con- 
duct throw scandal upon the cause of reform than 
it is to justify treason by showing that men of 
shady dmracter frequently try to cover their 

48 The Strenuous Life 

misconduct by fervent protestations of love of 
cotintry. Nevertheless, the fact remains that 
exactly as true patriots should be especially 
jealous of any appeal to what is base under the 
guise of patriotism, so men who strive for honesty, 
and for the cleansing of what is corrupt in the 
dark places of our politics, should emphatically 
disassociate themselves from the men whose antics 
throw discredit upon the reforms they profess to 

These little knots of extremists are found 
everywhere, one type flourishing chiefly in one 
locality and another type in another. In the 
particular objects they severally profess to cham- 
pion they are as far asimder as the poles, for one 
of their characteristics is that each little group 
has its own patent recipe for salvation and pays 
no attention whatever to the other little groups ; 
but in mental and moral habit they are fimda- 
mentally alike. They may be socialists of twenty 
different types, from the followers of Tolstoi down 
and up, or they may ostensibly champion some 
cause in itself excellent, such as temperance or 
mimicipal reform, or they may merely with com- 
prehensive vagueness annoimce themselves as the 
general enemies of what is bad, of corruption, 
machine politics, and the like. Their policies and 
principles are usually mutually exclusive; but 
that does not alter the conviction, which each 

Latitude and Longitude 49 

feek or affects to feel, that his particular group 
is the real vanguard of the army of reform. Of 
course, as the particular groups are all marching 
in different directions, it is not possible for more 
than one of them to be the vanguard. The others, 
at best, must be off to one side, and may possibly 
be marching the wrong way in the rear; and, as 
a matter of fact, it is only occasionally that any 
one of them is in the front. There are in each 
group many entirely sincere and honest men, and 
because of the presence of these men we are too 
apt to pay some of their associates the immerited 
compliment of speaking of them also as honest 
but impracticable. As a matter of fact, the 
typical extremist of this kind differs from the 
practical reformer, from the public man who 
strives in practical fashion for decency, not at all 
in superior morality, but in inferior sense. He 
is not more virtuous; he is less virtuous. He 
is merely more foolish. When Wendell Phillips 
denounced Abraham Lincoln as "the slave-hotmd 
of Illinois," he did not show himself more vir- 
tuous than Lincoln, but more foolish. Neither 
did he advance the cause of htiman freedom. 
When the contest for the Union and against 
slavery took on definite shape, then he and his 
kind were swept aside by the statesmen and 
soldiers, like Lincoln and Seward, Grant and 
Farragut, who alone were able to ride the storm. 


50 The Strenuous Life 

Great as is the superiority in efficiency of the men 
who do things over those who do not, it may be 
no greater than their superiority in moraKty. In 
addition to the simple and sincere men who have 
a twist in their mental make-up, these knots of 
enthusiasts contain, especially among their leaders, 
men of morbid vanity, who thirst for notoriety, 
men who lack power to accomplish anything if 
they go in with their fellows to fight for results, 
and who prefer to sit outside and attract momen- 
tary attention by denouncing those who are really 
forces for good. 

In every community in our land there are many 
htmdreds of earnest and sincere men, clerg5niien 
and laymen, reformers who strive for reform in 
the field of politics, in the field of philanthropy, 
in the field of social life ; and we could count on 
the fingers of one hand the number of times these 
men have been really aided in their efforts by the 
men of the type referred to in the preceding para- 
graph. The socialist who raves against the ex- 
isting order is not the man who ever lifts his hand 
practically to make our social life a little better, 
to make the conditions that bear upon the unfor- 
ttmate a little easier ; the man who demands the 
immediate impossible in temperance is not the 
man who ever aids in an effort to minimize the 
evils caused by the saloon ; and those who work 
practically for poUtical reform are hampered, so 

Latitude and Longitude 51 

far as they are affected at all, by the strutting 
vanity of the professional impracticables. 

It is not that these little knots of men accom- 
plish much of a positive nature that is objection- 
able, for their direct influence is inconsiderable; 
but they do have an undoubted indirect effect 
for bad, and this of a double kind. They affect 
for evil a certain nimiber of decent men in one 
way and a certain nimiber of equally decent men 
in an entirely different way. Some decent men, 
following their lead, withdraw themselves from 
the active work of life, whether social, philan- 
thropic, or political, and by the amount they 
thus withdraw from the side of the forces of good 
they strengthen the forces of evil, as, of course, 
it makes no difference whether we lessen the 
numerator or increase the denominator. Other 
decent men are so alienated by such conduct that 
in their turn they abandon all effort to fight for 
reform, believing reformers to be either hypocrites 
or fools. Both of these phenomena are perfectly 
familiar to every active politician who has striven 
for decency, and to every man who has studied 
history in an intelligent way. Few things hurt a 
good cause more than the excesses of its nominal 

Fortunately, most extremists lack the power to 
commit dangerous excesses. Their action is nor- 
mally as abortive as that of the queer abolitionist 

52 The Strenuous Life 

group who, in 1864, nominated a candidate against 
Abraham Lincobi when he was running for re- 
election to the Presidency. The men entering 
this movement represented all extremes, moral 
and mental. Nominally they opposed Lincoln 
because they did not feel that he had gone far 
enough in what they deemed the right direc- 
tion, — ^had not been sufficiently extreme, — and 
they objected to what they styled his opportxm- 
ism, his tendency to compromise, his temporizing 
conduct, and his being a practical politician. In 
reality, of course, their opposition to Lincoln was 
conditioned, not upon what Lincoln had done, 
but upon their own nattunes. They were in- 
capable of supporting a great constructive states- 
man in a great crisis ; and this, not because they 
were too \-irtuous, but because they lacked the 
necessary common sense and power of subordina- 
tion of self to enable them to work disinterestedly 
with others for the common good. Their move- 
ment, however, proved utterly abortive, and they 
had no effect even for e\-il. The soimd, whole- 
some common sense of the American people for- 
timately renders such movements, as a rule, 
innocuous; and this is, in reality, the prime 
reason why republican government prospers in 
America, as it does not prosper, for instance, in 
France. With us these little knots of impracti- 
cables have an insignificant effect upon the 

Latitude and Longitude 53 

national life, and no representation to speak of 
in our governmental assemblies. In France, 
where the nation has not the habit of self-gov- 
ernment, and where the national spirit is more 
volatile and less sane, each little group grows 
until it becomes a power for evil, and, taken 
together, all the little groups give to French 
political life its curious, and by no means elevat- 
ing, kaleidoscopic character. 

Macaulay's eminently sane and wholesome 
spirit and his knowledge of practical affairs give 
him a peculiar value among historians of political 
thought. In speaking of Scotland at the end of 
the seventeenth century he writes as follows : 

"It is a remarkable circtunstance that the 
same country should have produced in the same 
age the most wonderful specimens of both ex- 
tremes of human nature. Even in things indif- 
ferent the Scotch Puritan would hear of no com- 
promise; and he was but too ready to consider 
all who recommended prudence and charity as 
traitors to the cause of truth. On the other 
hand, the Scotchmen of that generation who 
made a figure in Parliament were the most dis- 
honest and unblushing time-servers that the 
world has ever seen. Perhaps it is natural that 
the most callous and impudent vice should be 
found in the near neighborhood of unreasonable 
and impracticable virtue. Where enthusiasts are 

54 The Strenuous Life 

ready to destroy or be destroyed for trifles mag- 
nified into importance by a squeamish conscience, 
it is not strange that the very name of conscience 
should become a byword of contempt to cool and 
shrewd men of business." 

What he says of Scotland in the time of Eling 
James and King William is true, word for word, 
of civic life in New York two centimes later. We 
see in New York sodden masses of voters manipu- 
lated by clever, unscrupulous, and utterly selfish 
masters of machine politics. Against them we 
see, it is true, masses of voters who both know 
how to, and do, strive for righteousness ; but we 
see also very many others in whom the capacity 
for self-government seems to have atrophied. 
They have lost the power to do practical work by 
ceasing to exercise it, by confining themselves to 
criticism and theorizing, to intemperate abuse and 
intemperate championship of what they but im- 
perfectly understand. The analogues of the men 
whom Macaulay condenms exist in numbers in 
New York, and work evil in oiu* public life for 
the very reason that Macaulay gives. They do 
not do practical work, and the extreme folly of 
their position makes them not infrequently the 
allies of scoundrels who cynically practise cor- 
ruption. Too often, indeed, they actually alienate 
from the cause of decency keen and honest men, 
who grow to regard all movements for reform 

M'^KF^ ^^^^^H ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^H 

Latitude and Longitude 55 

with contemptuous dislike because of the folly 
and vanity of the men who in the name of right- 
eousness preach unwisdom and practise unchari- 
tableness. These men thus do inestimable dam- 
age; for the reform spirit, the spirit of striving 
after high ideals, is the breath of life in our 
political institutions; and whatever weakens it 
by just so much lessens the chance of ultimate 
success under democratic government. 

Discarding the two extremes, the men who 
deliberately work for evil, and the men who are 
unwilling or incapable of working for good, there 
remains the great mass of men who do desire to 
be efficient, who do desire to make this world a 
better place to live in, and to do what they can 
toward achieving cleaner minds and more whole- 
some bodies. To these, after all, we can only 
say: Strive manfully for righteousness, and strive 
so as to make your efforts for good count. You 
are not to be excused if you fail to try to make 
things better; and the very phrase "trying to 
make things better" implies trying in practical 
fashion. One man's capacity is for one kind of 
work and another man's capacity for another 
Idnd of work. One affects certain methods and 
another affects entirely different methods. All 
this is of little concern. What is of really vital 
importance is that something should be accom- 
pli^ed, and that this something should be worthy 

56 The Strenuous Life 

of accomplishment. The field is of vast size, and 
the laborers are always too few. There is not the 
slightest excuse for one sincere worker looking 
down upon another because he chooses a different 
part of the field and different implements. It is 
inexcusable to refuse to work, to work slacldy or 
perversely, or to mar the work of others. 

No man is justified in doing evil on the grotmd 
of expediency. He is boimd to do all the good 
possible. Yet he must consider the question of 
expediency, in order that he may do all the good 
possible, for otherwise he will do none. As soon 
as a politician gets to the point of thinking that 
in order to be "practical" he has got to be base, 
he has become a noxious member of the body 
politic. That species of practicability eats into 
the moral sense of the people like a cancer, and 
he who practises it can no more be excused than 
an editor who debauches public decency in order 
to sell his paper. 

We need the worker in the fields of social and 
civic reform; the man who is keenly interested 
in some imiversity settlement, some civic club or 
citizens* association which is striving to elevate 
the standard of life. We need clean, healthy 
newspapers, with clean, healthy criticism which 
shall be fearless and truthful. We need upright 
politicians, who will take the time and trouble, 
and who possess the capacity, to manage caucuses, 

Latitude and Longitude 57 

conventions, and public assemblies. We need 
men who try to be their poorer brothers' keepers 
to the extent of befriending them and working 
with them so far as they are willing; men who 
work in charitable associations, or, what is even 
better, strive to get into touch with the wage- 
workers, to understand them, and to champion 
their cause when it is just. We need the sound 
and healthy idealist; the theoretic writer, 
preacher, or teacher; the Emerson or Phillips 
Brooks, who helps to create the atmosphere of 
enthusiasm and practical endeavor. In public 
life we need not only men who are able to work 
in and through their parties, but also upright, 
fearless, rational independents, who will deal im- 
partial justice to all men and all parties. We 
need men who are far-sighted and resolute ; men 
who combine sincerity with sanity. We need 
scholarly men, too — ^men who study all the diffi- 
cult questions of our poUtical life from the stand- 
point both of practice and of theory; men who 
thus study trusts, or mimicipal government, or 
finance, or taxation, or civil-service reform, as 
the authors of the **FederaUst" studied the 
problems of federal government. 

In closing, let me again dwell upon the point 
I am seeking to emphasize, so that there shall 
be no chance of honest mistmderstanding of what 
I say. It is vital that every man who is in 

ss The Strenuous Life 

politics, as a man ought to be, with a disin- 
terested piirpose to serve the public, should strive 
steadily for reform; that he shotild have the 
highest ideals. He must lead, only he must lead 
in the right direction, and normally he must be 
in sight of his followers. Cynicism in public life 
is a curse, and when a man has lost the power of 
enthusiasm for righteousness it will be better for 
him and the country if he abandons public 

Above all, the political reformer must not 
permit himself to be driven from his duty of 
supporting what is right by any irritation at the 
men who, while nominally supporting the same 
objects, and even ridiculing him as a backslider 
or an "opportunist," yet by their levity or 
fanaticism do damage to the cause which he 
really serves, and which they profess to serve. 
Let him disregard them; for though they are, 
according to their ability, the foes of decent 
politics, yet, after all, they are but weaklings, 
and the real and dangerous enemies of the cause 
he holds dear are those sinister beings who batten 
on the evil of our political system, and both 
profit by its existence, and by their own existence 
tend to perpetuate and increase it. We must not 
be diverted from our warfare with these powerful 
and efficient corruptionists by irritation at the 
vain prattlers who think they are at the head of 

Latitude and Longitude 59 

the reform forces, whereas they are really wander- 
ing in bypaths in the rear. 

The professional impracticable, the man who 
sneers at the sane and honest strivers after good, 
who sneers at the men who are following, how- 
ever humbly, in the footsteps of those who 
worked for and secured practical restilts in the 
days of Washington, and again in the days of 
Lincoln, who denounces them as time-servers and 
compromisers, is, of course, an ally of corruption. 
But, after all, he can generally be disregarded, 
whereas the real and dangerous foe is the corrupt 
politician, whom we cannot afford to disregard. 
When one of these professional impracticables 
denounces the attitude of decent men as "a 
hodge-podge of the ideal and the practicable," 
he is amusingly tmaware that he is writing his 
own condemnation, showing his own inability to 
do good work or to appreciate good work. The 
Constitutional Convention over which Washington 
presided, and which made us a nation, represented 
precisely and exactly this ''hodge-podge," and 
was frantically denotmced in its day by the men 
of the impracticable type. Lincoln's career 
throughout the Civil War was such a "hodge- 
podge," and was in its turn denounced in exactly 
the same way. Lincoln disregarded the jibes of 
these men, who did their puny best to hurt the 
great cause for which he battled ; and they never. 

6o The Strenuous Life 

by their pin-pricks, succeeded in diverting him 
from the real foe. The fanatical antislavery 
people wished to hurry him into imwise, extreme, 
and premature action, and denounced him as 
compromising with the forces of e\41, as being a 
practical politician — which he was, if practicality 
is held to include wisdom and high purpose. He 
did not permit himself to be affected by their 
position. He did not yield to what they advised 
when it was impracticable, nor did he permit 
himself to become prejudiced against so much 
of what they championed as was right and prac- 
ticable. His ideal was just as high as theirs. 
He did not lower it. He did not lose his temper 
at their conduct, or cease to strive for the abolition 
of slavery and the restoration of the Union ; and 
whereas their conduct foreboded disaster to both 
causes, his efforts secured the success of both. 
So, in our turn, we of to-day are bound to try to 
tread in the footsteps of those great Americans 
who in the past have held a high ideal and have 
striven mightily through practical methods to 
realize that ideal. There must be many compro- 
mises; but we cannot compromise with dis- 
honesty, with sin. We must not be misled at 
any time by the cheap assertion that people get 
only what they 'w-ant; that the editor of a de- 
graded newspaper is to be excused because the 
public want the degradation ; that the city officials 

Latitude and Longitude 6i 

who inaugurate a ** wide-open" policy are to be 
excused because a portion of the pubUc likes vice; 
that the men who jeer at philanthropy are to be 
excused because among philanthropists there are 
hypocrites, and among imfortimates there are 
vicious and unworthy people. To pander to 
depravity inevitably means to increase the de- 
pravity. It is a dreadful thing that public senti- 
ment shotild condone misconduct in a public man ; 
but this is no excuse for the public man, if by his 
conduct he still further degrades pubhc sentiment. 
There can be no meddling with the laws of 
righteousness, of decency, of morality. We are 
in honor bound to put into practice what we 
preach; to remember that we are not to be 
excused if we do not ; and that in the last resort 
no material prosperity, no business acimien, no 
intellectual development of any kind, can atone 
in the life of a nation for the lack of the funda- 
mental qualities of courage, honesty, and common 


Published in ^hs " Cxntury," Januart, 190* 




FELLOW-FEELING, sympathy in the broad- 
est sense> is the most important factor in 
producing a healthy political and social life. 
Neither our national nor our local civic life can be 
what it should be imless it is marked by the fellow- 
feeling, the mutual kindness, the mutual respect, 
the sense of common duties and common interests, 
which arise when men take the trouble to tmder- 
stand one another, and to associate together for a 
common object. A very large share of the rancor 
of political and social strife arises either from sheer 
misimderstanding by one section, or by one class, 
of another, or else from the fact that the two sec- 
tions, or two classes, are so cut off from each other ^, 
that neither appreciates the other's passions, prej- j 
udices, and, indeed, point of view, while they are \ 
both entirely ignorant of their community of feel- 
ing as regards the essentials of manhood and -J 

This is one reason why the public school is so 
admirable an institution. To it more than to any 
other among the many causes which, in our Amer- 
ican life, tell for religious toleration is due the im- 
possibility of persecution of a particular creed. 
5 65 

66 The Strenuous Life 

When in their earliest and most impressionable 
years Protestants, Catholics, and Jews go to the 
same schools, leam the same lessons, play the same 
games, and are forced, in the rough-and-ready 
democracy of boy life, to take each at his true 
worth, it is impossible later to make the disciples 
of one creed persecute those of another. From the 
evils of religious persecution America is safe. 

From the evils of sectional hostiUty we are, at 
any rate, far safer than we were. The war with 
Spain was the most absolutely righteous foreign 
war in which any nation has engaged during the 
nineteenth centiuy, and not the least of its many 
good features was the unity it brought about 
between the sons of the men who wore the blue 
and of those who wore the gray. This neces- 
sarily meant the dying out of the old antipathy. 
Of course embers smolder here and there ; but the 
P country at large is growing more and more to take 
pride in the valor, the self-devotion, the loyalty to 
an ideal, displayed alike by the soldiers of both 
sides in the Civil War. We are all united now. 
We are all glad that the Union was restored, and 
are one in our loyalty to it ; and hand in hand with 
this general recognition of the all-importance of 
preserving the Union has gone the recognition of 
the fact that at the outbreak of the Civil War men 
could not cut loose from the ingrained habits and 
traditions of generations, and that the man from 

A Political Factor 67 

the North and the man from the South each was 
loyal to his highest ideal of duty when he drew 
sword or shouldered rifle to fight to the death for 
what he believed to be right. 

Nor is it only the North and the South that have 
struck hands. The East and the West are funda- 
mentally closer together than ever before. Using 
the word ** West '* in the old sense, as meaning the 
country west of the Alleghanies, it is of course per- 
fectly obviotis that it is the West which will shape 
the destinies of this nation. The great group of 
wealthy and powerful States about the Upper Mis- 
sissippi, the Ohio, the Missotui, and their tribu- 
taries, will have far more weight than any other 
section in deciding the fate of the republic in the 
centuries that are opening. This is not in the 
least to be regretted by the East, for the simple 
and excellent reason that the interests of the West 
and the East are one. The West will shape otu* 
destinies because she will have more people and a 
greater territory, and because the whole develop- 
ment of the western cotmtry is such as to make it 
peculiarly the exponent of all that is most vigor- 
ously and characteristically American in our 
national life. 

So it is with the Pacific slope, and the giant young 
States that are there growing by leaps and bounds. 
The greater the share they have in directing the 
national life, the better it will be for all of us. 

68 The Strenuous Life 

I do not for a moment mean that mistakes will 
not be committed in every section of the country ; 
they certainly will be, and in whatever section 
they are conmiitted it will be otir duty to protest 
against them, and to try to overthrow those who 
are responsible for them: but I do mean to say 
that in the long run each section is going to find 
that its welfare, instead of being antagonistic to, 
is indissolubly bound up in, the welfare of other 
sections ; and the growth of means of communica- 
tion, the growth of education in its highest and 
finest sense, means the growth in the sense of 
solidarity throughout the country, in the feeling 
of patriotic pride of each American in the deeds of 
all other Americans — of pride in the past history 
and present and f utiu^ greatness of the whole 

Nobody is interested in the fact that Dewey 
comes from Vermont, Hobson from Alabama, or 
Funston from Kansas. If all three came from the 
same county it would make no difference to us. 
. They are Americans, and every American has an 
equal right to challenge his share of glory in their 
deeds. As we read of the famous feats of our 
army in the Philippines, it matters nothing to us 
whether the regiments come from Oregon, Idaho, 
California, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, or Tennessee. 
What does matter is that these splendid soldiers 
are all Americans ; that they are our heroes ; that 

A Political Factor 69 

our blood runs in their veins ; that the flag under 1 
which we live is the flag for which they have / 
fought, for which some of them have died. J 

Danger from rehgious antipathy is dead, and 
from sectional antipathy dying; but there are at 
times very ugly manifestations of antipathy be- 
tween class and class. It seems a pity to have to 
use the word "class," because there are really no 
classes in our American life in the sense in which 
the^word "class" is used in Europe. Our social 
and political systems do not admit of them in 
theory, and in practice they exist only in a very 
fluid state. In most European cotmtries classes 
are separated by rigid boundaries, which can be 
crossed but rardy, and with the utmost difficulty 
and peril. Here the boundaries cannot properiy 
be said to exist, and are certainly so fluctuating 
and evasive, so indistinctly marked, that they can- 
not be appreciated when seen near by. Any 
American family which lasts a few generations 
will be apt to have representatives in all the dif- . 
ferent classes. The great business men, even the 
great professional men, and especially the great 
statesmen and sailors and soldiers, are very apt 
to spring from among the farmers or wage-work- 
ers, and their kinsfolk remain near the old home 
or at the old trade. If ever there existed in the 
world a community where the identity of interest, 
of habit, of principle, and of ideals should be felt 

70 The Strenuous Life 

as a living force, ours is the one. Speaking gen- 
erally, it really is felt to a degree quite tmknown 
in other countries of our size. There are, doubt- 
less, portions of Norway and Switzerland where 
the social and political ideals, and their nearness 
to realization, are not materially diflEerent from 
those of the most essentially American portions 
of our own land ; but this is not true of any Euro- 
pean country of considerable size. It is only in 
American communities that we see the farmer, the 
hired man, the lawyer, and the merchant, and 
possibly even the officer of the army or the navy, 
all kinsmen, and all accepting their relations as 
perfectly nattua.1 and simple. This is eminently 
healthy. This is just as it should be in our repub- 
lic. It represents the ideal toward which it would 
be a good thing to approximate ever3rwhere. In 
the great industrial centers, with their highly com- 
plex, highly specialized conditions, it is of course 
merely an ideal. There are parts even of our 
oldest States, as, for example, New York, where 
this ideal is actually realized; there are other 
parts, particularly the great cities, where the life 
is so wholly different that the attempt to live up 
precisely to the country conditions would be arti- 
ficial and impossible. Nevertheless, the fact re- 
Tmains that the only true solution of our political 
I and social problems lies in ctdtivating everywhere 
\ihe spirit of brotherhood, of fellow-feeling and 

A Political Factor 71 

understanding between man and man, and the 
willingness to treat a man as a man, which are the 
essential factors in American democracy as we still 
see it in the country districts. 

The chief factor in producing such sympathy is 
simply association on a plane of equality, and for 
a common object. Any^ Jiealthy-mindedpAinerican 
is bound to think weltljfiiis'Tellow^Americans if 
he only gets to know them. The trouble is that 
he does not know them. If the banker and the 
farmer never meet, or meet only in the most per- 
functory business way, if the banking is not done 
by men whom the farmer knows as his friends and 
associates, a spirit of mistrust is almost sure to 
spring up. If the merchant or the manufacturer, 
the lawyer or the clerk, never meets the mechanic 
or the handicraftsman, save on rare occasions, 
when the meeting may be of a hostile kind, each 
side feels that the other is alien and naturally 
antagonistic. But if any one individual of any 
group were to be thrown into natural association 
with another group, the diffictdties wotdd be found 
to disappear so far as he was concerned. Very 
possibly he wotdd become the ardent champion 
of the other group. 

Perhaps I may be pardoned for quoting my own 
experience as an instance in point. Outside of 
college boys and politicians my first intimate asso- 
ciates were ranchmen, cow-punchers, and game- 

72 The Strenuous Life 

hunters, and I speedily became convinced that 
there were no other men in the country who were 
their equals. Then I was thrown much with farm- 
ers, and I made up my mind that it was the farmer 
upon whom the fotmdations of the commonwealth 
really rested — that the farmer was the archetypical 
good American. Then I saw a good deal of rail- 
road men, and after quite an intimate acquaint- 
ance with them I grew to feel that, especially in 
their higher ranks, they typified the very qualities 
of courage, self-reliance, self-command, hardihood, 
capacity for work, power of initiative, and power 
of obedience, which we like most to associate with 
the American name. Then I happened to have 
dealings with certain carpenters' imions, and grew 
to have a great respect for the carpenter, for the 
mechanic type. By this time it dawned upon me 
that they were all pretty good fellows, and that 
my championship of each set in succession above 
all other sets ha,d sprung largely from the fact that 
I was very familiar with the set I championed, and 
less familiar with the remainder. In other words, 
I had grown into sympathy with, into tmderstand- 
ing of, group after group, with the effect that I 
invariably found that they and I had common pur- 
poses and a common standpoint. We differed 
among ourselves, or agreed among ourselves, not 
because we had different occupations or the same 
occupation, but because of our ways of looking at 

A Political Factor n 

life. It is this capacity for sympathy, for fellow- " 
feeling and mutual understanding, which must lie 
at the basis of all really successful movements f or^ 
good government and the betterment of social and 
civic conditions. There is no patent device for 
bringing about good government. Still less is 
there any patent device for remedying social evils 
and doing away with social inequalities. Wise 
legislation can help in each case, and crude, vicious, 
or demagogic legislation can do an infinity of harm. 
But the betterment must come through the slow 
workings of the same forces which always have 
tended for righteousness, and always will. 

The prime lesson to be taught is the lesson of 
treating each man on his worth as a man, and of 
remembering that while sometimes it is necessary, 
from both a legislative and social standpoint, to 
consider men as a class, yet in the long run our 
safety lies in recognizing the individual's worth or 
lack of worth as the chief basis of action, and in 
shaping our whole^Cbiidiict, and especially our 
political conduct, accordingly. It is impossible 
for a democracy to endure if the political lines are 
drawn to coincide with class lines. The resulting 
government, whether of the upper or the lower 
class, is not a government of the whole people, but 
a government of part of the people at the expense 
of the rest. Where the lines of political division 
are vertical, the men of each occupation and of 

74 The Strenuous Life 

every social standing separating according to their 
vocations and principles, the result is healthy and 
normal. Just so far, however, as the lines are 
drawn horizontally, the result is unhealthy, and 
in the long run disastrous, for such a division 
means that men are pitted against one another 
in accordance with the blind and selfish interests 
of the moment. Each is thus placed over against 
his neighbor in an attitude of greedy class hos- 
tility, which becomes the mainspring of his con- 
duct, instead of each basing his political action 
upon his own convictions as to what is advisable, 
and what inadvisable, and upon his own disin- 
terested sense of devotion to the interests of the 
whole commtmity as he sees them. Republics 
have fallen in the past primarily because the 
parties that controlled them divided along the 
lines of class, so that inevitably the triumph of 
one or the other implied the supremacy of a part 
over the whole. The result might be an oligarchy, 
or it might be mob rule ; it mattered little which, 
as regards the ultimate effect, for in both cases 
tjnranny and anarchy were sure to alternate. The 
failure of the Greek and Italian republics was 
fundamentally due to this cause. Switzerland has 
flourished because the divisions upon which her 
political issues have been fought have not been 
primarily those of mere caste or social class, and 
America will flourish and will become greater than 

A Political Factor 75 

any empire because, in the long run, in this coun- 
try, any party which strives to found itself upon 
sectional or class jealousy and hostility must go 
down before the good sense of the people. 

The only way to provide against the evils of a 
horizontal cleavage in politics is to encourage the 
growth of fellow-feeling, of a feeling based on the V 
relations of man to man, and not of class to class. /^ 
In the country districts this is not very difficult. 
In the neighborhood where I live, on the Fourth of 
July the four Protestant ministers and the Catholic 
priest speak from the same platform, the children 
of all of tis go to the same district school, and the 
landowner and the hired man take the same views, 
not merely of politics, but of duck-shooting and of 
/i ntern ational yacht races. Naturally in such a 
community there is small chance for class division. 
There is a slight feeling against the mere stunmer 
residents, precisely because there is not much sym- 
pathy with them, and because they do not share in 
our local interests ; but otherwise there are enough 
objects in common to put all much on the same 
plane of interest in various important particulars, 
and each man has too much self-respect to feel 
particularly jealous of any other man. Moreover, 
as the community is small and consists for the 
most part of persons who have dwelt long in the 
land, while those of foreign ancestry, instead of 
keeping by themselves, have intermarried with the 


76 The Strenuous Life 

natives, there is still a realizing sense of kinship 
among the men who follow the different occupa- 
tions. The characteristic family names are often 
borne by men of widely different fortunes, ranging 
from the local bayman through the captain of the 
oyster-sloop, the sailmaker, or the wheelwright, to 
the owner of what the countryside may know as 
the manor-house — ^which probably contains one of 
the innumerable rooms in which Washington is 
said to have slept. We have sharp rivalries, and 
our politics are by no means always what they 
y should be, but at least we do not divide on class 
P / lines, for the very good reason that there has been 
\^ no crystallization into classes. 

This condition prevails in essentials throughout 
the country districts of New York, which are polit- 
ically very much the healthiest districts. Any 
man who has served in the legislature realizes that 
the country members form, on the whole, a very 
sound and healthy body of legislators. Any man 
who has gone about much to the county fairs in 
New York — almost the only place where the farm 
folks gather in large numbers — cannot but have 
been struck by the high character of the average 
cotmtryman. He is a fine fellow, rugged, hard- 
working, shrewd, and keenly alive to the funda- 
mental virtues. He and his brethren of the 
smaller towns and villages, in ordinary circum- 
stances, take very little accotmt, indeed, of any 

A Political Factor 77 

caste difference ; they greet each man strictly on 
his merits as a man, and therefore form a commu- 
nity in which there is singularly little caste spirit, 
and in which men associate on a thoroughly 
healthy and American groimd of common ideals, 
common convictions, and common sympathies. 

Unforttmately, this cannot be said of the larger 
cities, where the conditions of life are so compli- 
cated that there has been an extreme differentia- 
tion and specialization in every species of occupa- 
tion, whether of business or pleasure. The people 
of a certain degree of wealth and of a certain occu- 
pation may never come into any real contact with 
the people of another occupation, of another social 
standing. The tendency is for the relations always 
to be between class and class instead of between 
individual and individual. This produces the 
thoroughly unhealthy belief that it is for the 
interest of one class as against another to have its 
class representatives dominant in public life. The 
ills of any such system are obvious. As a matter 
of fact, the enormous mass of our legislation and 
administration ought to be concerned with matters 
that are strictly for the commonweal ; and where 
special legislation or administration is needed, as 
it often must be, for a certain class, the need can 
be met primarily by mere honesty and common 
sense. But if men are elected solely from any 
caste, or on any caste theory, the voter gradually 

7S The Strenuous Life 

'^substitutes the theory of allegiance to the caste 
for the theory of allegiance to the commonwealth 

^as a whole, and instead of demanding as funda- 
mental the qualities of probity and broad intelli- 
gence — which are the indispensable qualities in 
securing the welfare of the whole — as the first 
consideration, he demands, as a substitute, zeal 
in the service, or apparent service, of the class, 
which is quite compatible with gross corruption 
outside. In short, we get back to the conditions 
which foredoomed democracy to failure in the 
ancient Greek and medieval republics, where party 
lines were horizontal and class warred against class, 
each in consequence necessarily substituting devo- 
tion to the interest of a class for devotion to the 
interest of the state and to the elementary ideas of 

The only way to avoid the growth of these evils 
is, so far as may be, to help in the creation of con- 
ditions which will permit mutual understancffilg 
and fellow-feeling between the members of d Ser- 
ent classes. To do this it is absolutely necessary 
that there should be natural association between 
the members for a common end ofwilh a common 
pxirpose. As long as men are separated by their 
caste lines, each body having its own amusements, 
interests, and occupations, they are certain to 
regard one another with that instinctive distrust 
which they fed for foreigners. There are excep- 

A Political Factor 


tions to the rule, but it is a rule. The average man, 
when he has no means of being brought into con- 
tact with another, or of gaining any insight into- 
that other's ideas and aspirations, either ignores 
these ideas and aspirations completely, or else feels 
toward them a more or less tepid dislike. The re- 
sult is a complete and perhaps fatal misunder- 
standing, due primarily to the fact that the 
capacity for fellow-feeling is given no opportunity 
to flotirish. On the other hand, if the men can be 
mixed together in some way that will loosen the 
class or caste bonds and put each on his merits as 
an1S3ividual man, there is certain to be a regroup- 
ing^dependent of caste lines. A tie may remain 
between the members of a caste, based merely 
upon the similarity of their habits of life ; but this 
will be much less strong than the ties based on ' 
identity of passion, of principle, or of ways~6f Took- 
iilg at life. Any man who has ever, for his good 
fortune, been obliged to work with men in masses, 
in some place or under some condition or in some 
association where the dislocation of caste was com- 
plete, must recognize the truth of this as apparent. 

< Every mining camp, every successful volunteer 
regiment, proves it. In such cases there is always 
some object which must be attained, and the men 
interested in its attainment have to develop their 
own leaders and their own ties of association, while 
the would-be leader can succeed only by selecting 

to The Strenuous Life 

for assistants the men whose pectdiar capacities fit 
them to do the best work in the various emergen- 
cies that arise. Under such circumstances the 
men who work together for the achievement of a 
common result in which they are intensely inter- 
ested are very soon certain to disregard, and, 
indeed, to forget, the creed or race origin or ante- 
cedent social standing or class occupation of the 
man who is either their friend or then- foe. They 
get down to the naked bed-rock of character and 

This is to a large extent true of the party organ- 
izations in a great city, and, indeed, of all serious 
political organizations. If they are to be success- 
ful they must necessarily be democratic, in the 
sense that each man is treated strictly on his 
merits as a man. No one can succeed who at- 
tempts to go in on any other basis ; above all, no 
one can succeed if he goes in feeling that, instead 
of merely doing his duty, he is conferring a favor 
upon the community, and is therefore warranted 
in adopting an attitude of condescension toward 
J his fellows. It is often quite as irritating to be 
* patronized as to be plundered ; as reformers have 
more than once discovered when the mass of the 
voters stolidly voted against them, and in favor 
of a gang of familiar scoundrels, chiefly because 
they had no sense of fellow-feeling with their 
would-be benefactors. 

A Political Factor sx 

The tendency to patronize is certain to be eradi- 
cated as soon as any man goes into politics in a 
practical and not in a dilettante fashion. He 
speedily finds that the quality of successful man- 
agement, the power to handle men and secure 
results, may exist in seemingly unlikely persons. 
If he intends to carry a caucus or primary, or elect 
a given candidate, or secure a certain piece of legis- 
lation or administration, he will have to find out 
and work with innumerable allies, and make use 
of innumerable subordinates. Given that he and 
they have a common object, the one test that he 
must apply to them is as to their ability to help in 
achieving that object. The result is that in a very 
short time the men whose purposes are the same 
forget about all differences, save in capacity to 
carry out the purpose. The banker who is in- 
terested in seeing a certain nomination made or 
a certain election carried forgets everything but 
his community of fnterest \^th the retail butcher 
wliO"i?*a"teader along his section of the avenue, or 
the starter who can control a considerable number 
of the motormen ; and in return the butcher and 
the starter accept the banker quite naturally as 
an ally whom they may follow or lead, as circum- 
stances dictate. In other words, all three grow 
to fed in common on certain important subjects, 
and this fellow-feeling has results as far-reaching 
as they are healthy. 

8a The Strenuous Life 

Good thus follows from mere ordinary poKtical 
afl&liation. A man who has taken an active part 
in the political life of a great city possesses an 
incalculable advantage over his fellow-citizens who 
have not so taken part, because normally he has 
more tmderstanding than they can possibly have 
of the attitude of mind, the passions, prejudices, 
hopes, and animosities of his fellow-citizens, with 
whom he would not ordinarily be brought into 
business or social contact. Of course there are 
plenty of exceptions to this rule. A man who is 
drawn into politics from absolutely selfish reasons, 
and especially a rich man who merely desires to 
buy political promotion, may know absolutely 
nothing that is of value as to any but the basest 
side of the human nature with which his sphere of 
contact has been enlarged ; and, on the other hand, 
a wise employer of labor, or a philanthropist in 
whom zeal and judgment balance each other, may 
know far more than most politicians. But the fact 
remains that the e ffect of po litical life, and of the 
^-f associations that it brings, is of very great benefit 
?' in produciag a better understanding and a keener 

fellow-feeling among men who otherwise would 
know one another not at all, or else as members 
of alien bodies or classes. 

This being the case, how much more is it true if 
the same habit of association for a common pur- 
pose can be applied where the purpose is really of 

A Political Factor 83 

the highest ! Much is accomplished in this way by 
the tiniversity settlements and similar associations. 
Wherever these associations are entered into in a 
healthy and sane spirit, the good they do is incal- 
culable, from the simple fact that they bring 
together in pursuit of a worthy common object 
men of excellent character, who would never other- 
wise meet. It is of just as much importance to the 
one as to the other that the man from Hester 
Street or the Bowery or Avenue B, and the man 
from the Riverside Drive or Fifth Avenue, should 
have some meeting-ground where they can grow 
to understand one another as an incident of work- 
ing for a common end. Of course if, on the one 
hand, the work is entered into in a patronizing 
spirit, no good will result ; and, on the other hand, 
if the zealous enthusiast loses his sanity, only 
harm will follow. There is much dreadful misery ^ 
in a great city, and a high-spirited, generous young 
man, when first brought into contact with it, has 
his syx]:^>athies,scL excited that he is very apt to 
become a socialist, or turn to the advocacy of any 
wild scheme, courting a plunge from bad to worse, 
exactly as do too many of the leaders of the discon- 
tent arotmd him. His sanity and cool-headedness 
will be thoroughly tried, and if he loses them his 
power for good will vanish. 

But this is merely to state one form of a general 
truth. If a man permits largeness of heart to 

84 The Strenuous Life 

degenerate into softness of head, he inevitably 
beCbines'a ntdsance in any relation of life. J[f 
sympathy becomes distorted and morbid, it 
hampers instead xrf help i ng the~ effoix toward 
social betterment. Yet without sympathy, with- 
out fellow-feeling, no permanent good can be 
accomplished. In any healthy community there 
must be a soUdarity of sentiment and a knowledge 
of solidarity of interest among 'tEe~diSefettl flieni- 
bei§: Where this'Sblldarity ceases to exist, where 
there is no fellow-feeling, the community is ripe 
for disaster. Of course the fellow-feeling may be 
of value much ifTpropbrtion as it is unco nscious . 
A sentiment that is easy and natural is far better 
than one which has to be artificially stimulated . 
But the artificial stimulus is better than norieraSd 
with fellow-feeling, as with all other emoticSs, 
what is started artificially may become quite" 
natural in its continuance. With most men 
^courage is largely an acquired habit, and on the 
first occasions when it is called for it necessitates 
the exercise of will-power and self-control; but 
by exercise it gradually becomes almost automatic. 
So it is with fellow-feeling. A maSTwhcTcon- 
scientiously endeavors to throw in his lot with 
rv^'' . ..J those about him, to make his interests theirs, to 

^ .-. ' -^ put himself in a position where he and they have 

a common object, will at first feel a little sdf -con- 
scious, will realize too plainly his own aims. But 

A Political Factor 


with exercise this will pass off. He will speedily 
find that the fellow-feeling which at first he had to 
stimulate was really existent, though latent, and 
is capable of a very healthy growth. It can, of 
course, become normal only when the man him- 
self becomes genuinely interested in the^j^t^ 
which he and his fellows are striving to attain. " Tt 
is therefore obviously desirable that this object 
should possess a real and vital interest for every 
one. Such is the case with a proper political asso- 

Much has been done, not merely by the ordinary 
political associations, but by the city clubs, civic 
federations, and the like, and very much more can 
be done. Of course there is danger of any such 
association being perverted either by knavery or 
folly. When a partisan political organization 
becomes merely an association for purposes of 
plunder and patronage, it may be a menace in- 
stead of a help to a community ; and when a non- 
partisan political organization falls under the 
control of the fantastic extremists always at- 
tracted to such movements, in its turn it becomes 
either useless or noxious. But if these organiza- 
tions, partisan or non-partisan, are conducted 
along the lines of sanity and honesty, they produce 
a good more far-reaching than their promoters 
suppose, and achieve results of greater import- 
ance than those immediately aimed at. 

86 The Strenuous Life 

It is an excellent thing to win a triumph for 
good government at a given election ; but it is a 
far better thing gradually to build up that spirit 
of fellow-feeling among American citizens, which, 
in the long run, is absolutely necessary if we are 
to see the principles of virile honesty and robust 
common sense triumph in our civic life. 


Published in thb "Cbntury/' Octobbr, 1900 



IN Mr. Lecky's profoundly suggestive book, 
"The Map of Life," referred to by me in a 
former article, he emphasizes the change that 
has been gradually coming over the religioiis atti- 
tude of the world because of the growing impor- 
tance laid upon conduct as compared with dogma. 
In this cotmtry we are long past the stage of 
regarding it as any part of the state's duty to 
enforce a particular religious dogma; and more 
and more the professors of the different creeds 
themselves are beginning tacitly to acknowledge 
that the prime worth of a creed is to be gaged by 
the standard of conduct it exacts among its fol- 
lowers toward their fellows. The creed which 
each man in his heart believes to be essential to 
his own salvation is for him alone to determine; 
but we have a right to pass judgment upon his 
actions toward those about him. 

Tried by this standard, the religious teachers 
of the commtmity stand most honorably high. It 
is probable that no other class of our citizens do 
anything like the amotmt of disinterested labor 
for their fellow-men. To those who are associated 
with them at close quarters this statement will 


90 The Strenuous Life 

seem so obviotisly a truism as to rank among the 
platitudes. But there is a far from inconsiderable 
body of public opinion which, to judge by the 
speeches, writings, and jests in which it delights, 
has no conception of this state of things. If such 
people would but take the trouble to follow out 
the actual life of a hard-worked clergyman or 
priest, I think they would become a little ashamed 
of the tone of flippancy they are so prone to adopt 
when speaking about them. 

In the cotmtry districts the minister of the gos- 
pel is normally the associate and leader of his con- 
gregation and in close personal touch with them. 
He shares in and partially directs their intellectual 
and moral life, and is responsive to their spiritual 
needs. If they are prosperous, he is prosperotis. 
If the community be poor and hard-working, he 
shares the poverty and works as hard as any one. 
As fine a figure as I can call to mind is that of one 
such country clergyman in a poor farming com- 
munity not far from the capital of the State of 
New York — a vigorous old man, who works on his 
farm six days in the week, and on the seventh 
preaches what he himself has been practising. The 
farm work does not occupy all of the week-days, for 
there is not a spiritual need of his parishioners that 
he neglects. He visits them, looks after them if 
they are sick, baptizes the children, comforts those 
in sorrow, and is ready with shrewd advice for 

Civic Helpfulness 91 

those who need aid ; in short, shows himself from 
week's end to week's end a thoroughly sincere, 
earnest, hard-working old Christian. ITiis is per- 
haps the healthiest type. It is in keeping with the 
surroundings, for in the cotintry districts the 
quality of self-help is very highly developed, and 
there is little use for the great organized charities. 
Neighbors know one another. The poorest and 
the richest are more or less in touch, and chari- 
table feelings find a nattual and simple expression 
in the homely methods of performing charitable 
duties. This does not mean that there is not 
room for an immense amotmt of work in cotmtry 
communities and in villages and small towns. 
Every now and then, in traveling over the State, 
one comes upon a public library, a Yotmg Men's 
Qiristian Association building, or some similar 
structure which has been put up by a man bom 
in the place, who has made his money elsewhere, 
and feels he would like to have some memorial in 
his old home. Such a gift is of far-reaching bene- 
fit. Almost better is what is done in the way of 
circulating libraries and the like by the united 
action of those men and women who appreciate 
clearly the intellectual needs of the people who 
live far from the great centers of our rather fever- 
ish modem civilization; for in cotmtry life it is 
necessary to guard not against mental fever, but 
against lack of mental stimultis and interests. 

9^ The Strenuous Life 

In cities the conditions are very different, both 
as regards the needs and as regards the way it is 
possible to meet these needs. There is much less 
feeling of essential commtinity of interest, and 
poverty of the body is lamentably visible among 
great masses. There are districts populated to 
the point of congestion, where hardly any one is 
above the level of poverty, though this poverty 
does not by any means always imply misery. 
Where it does mean misery it mtist be met by 
organization, and, above all, by the disinterested, 
endless labor of those who, by choice, and to do 
good, live in the midst of it, temporarily or perma- 
nently. Very many men and women spend part 
of their lives or do part of their life-work tinder 
such circumstances, and conspicuotis among them 
are clergymen and priests. 

Only those who have seen something of such 
work at close quarters realize how much of it goes 
on quietly and without the slightest outside show, 
and how much it represents to many lives that else 
would be passed in gray squalor. It is not neces- 
sary to give the names of the living, or I could 
enumerate among my personal acquaintance fifty 
clergymen and priests, men of every church, of 
every degree of wealth, each of whom cheerfully 
and quietly, year in and year out, does his share, 
and more than his share, of the imending work 
which he feels is imposed upon him alike by Chris- 

Civic Helpfulness 93 

tianity and by that form of applied Christianity 
which we call good citizenship. Par more than 
that number of women, in and out of religious 
bodies, who do to the full as much work, could be 
mentioned. Of course, for every one thtis men- 
tioned there would be a htindred, or many htm- 
dreds, tmmentioned. Perhaps there is no harm 
in alluding to one man who is dead. Very early in 
my career as a police commissioner of the city of 
New York I was brought in contact with Father 
Casserly of the Paulist Pathers. After he had 
made up his mind that I was really trying to get 
things decent in the department, and to see that 
law and order prevailed, and that crime and vice 
were warred against in practical fashion, he 
became very intimate with me, helping me in 
every way, and tmconsciously giviag me an in- 
sight into his own work and his own character. 
Continually, in one way and another, I came 
across what Pather Casserly was doing, always in 
the way of showing the intense human sympathy 
and interest he was taking in the lives about him. 
If one of the boys of a family was wild, it was 
Father Casserly who planned methods of steady- 
ing him. If, on the other hand, a steady boy met 
with some misfortune, — ^lost his place, or some- 
thing of the kind, — it was Father Casserly who 
went and stated the facts to the employer. The 
Patdist Pathers had always been among the most 

94 The Strenuous Life 

efficient foes of the abiises of the liquor traflSc. 
They never hesitated to interfere with saloons, 
dance-houses, and the like. One secret of their 
influence with otu* Police Board was that, as they 
continually went about among their people and 
knew them all, and as they were entirely disin- 
terested, they could be trusted to tell who did 
right and who did wrong among the instruments 
of the law. One of the perplexing matters in 
dealing with policemen is that, as they are always 
in hostile contact with criminals and would-be 
criminals, who are sure to lie about them, it is 
next to impossible to tell when accusations against 
them are false and when they are true; for the 
good man who does his duty is certain to have 
scotmdrelly foes, and the bad man who black- 
mails these same scotmdrels usually has nothing 
but the same evidence against him. But Father 
Casseriy and the rest of his order knew the police- 
men personally, and we f oimd we could trust them 
implicitly to tell exactly who was good and who 
was not. Whether the man were Protestant, 
Catholic, or Jew, if he was a faithftil public ser- 
vant they would so report him; and if he was 
unfaithftU he would be reported as such wholly 
without regard to his creed. We had this experi- 
ence with an honorably large number of priests 
and clergymen. Once in the same batch of pro- 
motions from sergeant to captain there was a 

Civic Helpfulness 95 

Protestant to whom our attention had been drawn 
by the earnest praise of Fathers Casserly and 
Doyle, and a Catholic who had first been brought 
to our notice by the advocacy of Bishop Potter. 

There were other ways in which clergymen 
helped our Police Board. We wanted at one time 
to get plenty of strong, honest yotmg men for the 
police force, and did not want to draw them from 
among the ordinary types of ward heeler. Two 
fertile recruiting-grotmds proved to be, one a 
Catholic church and the other a Methodist church. 
The rector of the former, Dr. Wall, had a temper- 
ance lycetim for the yotmg men of his parish ; the 
pastor of the latter had a congregation made out 
of a bit of old native America suddenly overlapped 
by the growth of the city, and his wheelwrights, 
ship-carpenters, baymen, and coasting-sailors gave 
us the same good type of officer that we got from 
among the mechanics, motormen, and blacksmiths 
who came from Dr. Wall's lyceum. Among our 
other close friends was another Methodist preacher, 
who had once been a reporter, but who had felt 
stirred by an irresistible impulse to leave his pro- 
fession and devote his life to the East Side, where 
he ministered to the wants of those who would not 
go to the fashionable churches, and for whom no 
Other church was especially prepared. In con- 
nection with his work, one of the things that was 
especially pleasing was tlie way in which he had 

96 The Strenuous Life 

gone in not only with the rest of the Protestant 
clergy and the non-sectarian philanthropic work- 
ers of the district, but with the Catholic clergy, 
joining hands in the fight against the seething evils 
of the slum. One of his Catholic allies, by the 
way, a certain Brother A , was doing an im- 
mense amotmt for the Italian children of his parish. 
He had a large parochial school, originally attended 
by the children of Irish parents. Gradually the 
Irish had moved uptown, and had been supplanted 
by the Italians. It was his life-work to lift these 
little Italians over the first painful steps on the 
road toward American citizenship. 

Again, let me call to mind an institution, not in 
New York, but in Albany, where the sisters of a 
religious organization devote their entire lives to 
helping girls who either have slipped, and would 
go down to be trampled underfoot in the blackest 
mire if they were not helped, or who, by force of 
their surrotmdings, would surely slip if the hand 
were not held out to them in time. It is the kind 
of work the doing of which is of infinite importance 
both from the standpoint of the state and from the 
standpoint of the individual; yet it is a work 
which, to be successful, must emphatically be a 
labor of love. Most men and women, even among 
those who appreciate the need of the work and who 
are not wholly insensible to the demands made 
upon them by the spirit of brotherly love for man- 

Civic Helpfulness 97 

kind, lack cither the time, the opportunity, or the 
moral and mental qualities to succeed in such 
work; and to very many the sheer distaste of it 
would prevent their doing it well. There is noth- 
ing attractive in it save for those who are entirely 
earnest and disinterested. There is no reputation, 
there is not even any notoriety, to be gained from 
it. Stirely people who realize that such work 
ought to be done, and who realize also how ex- 
ce«iingly distasteful it would be for them to do it, 
ought to feel a sense of the most profoimd grati- 
tude to those who with whole-hearted sincerity 
have undertaken it, and should support them in 
every way. This particular institution is under 
the management of a creed not my own, but few 
things gave me greater pleasure than to sign a bill 
increasing its power and usefulness. Compared 
with the vital necessity of reclaiming these poor 
hunted creatures to paths of womanliness and 
wholesome living, it is of infinitesimal importance 
along the lines of which creed these paths lead. 

Undoubtedly the best type of philanthropic 
work is that which helps men and women who 
are willing and able to help themselves ; for ftmda- 
mentally this aid is simply what each of us should 
be all the time both giving and receiving. Every 
man and woman in the land ought to prize above 
almost every other quality the capacity for self- 
help; and yet every man and woman in the land 

9S The Strenuous Life 

will at some time or other be sorely in need of the 
help of others, and at some time or other will find 
that he or she can in tnm give help even to the 
strongest. The quality of self-help is so splendid 
a quality that nothing can compensate for its loss ; 
yet, like every virtue, it can be twisted into a 
fault, and it becomes a fault if carried to the 
point of cold-hearted arrogance, of inability to 
understand that now and then the strongest may 
be in need of aid, and that for this reason alone, 
if for no other, the strong should always be glad 
of the chance in turn to aid the weak. 

The Yoimg Men's Christian Associations and 
the Young Women's Christian Associations, which 
have now spread over all the cotmtry, are invalu- 
able because they can reach every one. I am cer- 
tainly a beneficiary myself, having not infre- 
quently used them as clubs or reading-rooms when 
I was in some city in which I had but little or no 
personal acquaintance. In part they develop the 
good qualities of those who join them; in part 
they do what is even more valuable, that is, simply 
give opporttmity for the men or women to develop 
the qualities themselves. In most cases they pro- 
vide reading-rooms and gymnasiimas, and there- 
fore f timish a means for a man or woman to pass 
his or her leistu'e hours in profit or amusement as 
seems best. The average individual will not spend 
the hours in which he is not working in doing some- 

Civic Helpfulness 99 

thing that is unpleasant, and absolutely the only 
way permanently to draw average men or women 
from occupations and amusements that are un- 
healthy for soul or body is to furnish an alternative 
which they will accept. To forbid all amusements, 
or to treat innocent and vicious amusements as on 
the same plane, simply insures recruits for the 
vicious amusements. The Young Men's and 
Young Women's Christian Associations would 
have demonstrated their value a hundredfold over 
if they had done nothing more than furnish read- 
ing-rooms, gymnasiums, and places where, espe- 
cially after nightfall, those without homes, or 
without attractive homes, could go without 
receiving injury. They furnish meeting-grotmds 
for many yotmg men who otherwise would be 
driven, perhaps to the saloon, or if not, then to 
some cigar-store or other lotmging-place, where 
at the best the conversation would not be ele- 
vating, and at the worst companionships might 
be formed which would lead to futtu-e disaster. 
In addition to this the associations give every 
opporttmity for self -improvement to those who 
care to take advantage of the opporttmity, and 
an astonishing number do take advantage of it. 

Mention was made above of some of the sotux^es 
from which at times we drew policemen while 
engaged in managing the New York Police Depart- 
ment. Several came from Yotmg Men's Christian 

zoo The Strenuous Life 

Associations. One of them whom we got from the 
Bowery Branch of the Yoimg Men's Christian 
Association I remember particularly. I had gone 
aroimd there one night, and the secretary men- 
tioned to me that they had a yoimg man who had 
just rescued a woman from a burning building, 
showing great strength, coolness, and courage. 
The story interested me, and I asked him to send 
for the yoimg fellow. When he turned up he 

proved to be a Jew, Otto R , who, when very 

young, had come over with his people from Russia 
at the time of one of the waves of persecution in 
that coimtry. He was evidently physically of the 
right type, and as he had been stud3ring in the 
association classes for some time he was also men- 
tally fit, while his feat at the fire showed he had 
good moral qualities. We were going to hold the 
examinations in a few days, and I told him to try 
them. Sure enough, he passed and was ap- 
pointed. He made one of the best policemen we 
put on. As a result of his appointment, which 
meant tripling the salary he had been earning, and 
making an immense botmd in social standing, he 
was able to keep his mother and old grandmother 
in comfort, and see to the starting of his small 
brothers and sisters in life ; for he was already a 
good son and brother, so that it was not surprising 
that he made a good policeman. 

I have not dwelt on the work of the State chari- 

Civic Helpfulness ':>/. lox 

table institutions, or of those who are paid-fe do 
charitable work as officers and otherwise. But-it 
is bare jtistice to point out that the great majority^- 
of those thus paid have gone into the work, not 
for the sake of the money, but for the sake of the 
work itself, though, being dependent upon their 
own exertions for a livelihood, they are obliged to 
receive some recompense for their services. 

There is one class of public servants, however, 
not employed directly as philanthropic agents, 
whose work, nevertheless, is as truly philanthropic 
in character as that of any man or woman existing. 
I allude to the public-school teachers whose schools 
lie in the poorer quarters of the city. In dealing 
with any body of men and women general state- 
ments must be made cautiously, and it mtist 
always be imderstood that there are nimierous 
exceptions. Speaking generally, however, the 
women teachers — I mention these because they 
are more numerous than the men — ^who carry on 
their work in the poorer districts of the great cities 
form as high-principled and useful a body of citi- 
zens as is to be found in the entire commimity, and 
render an amount of service which can hardly be 
paralleled by that of any other equal nimaber of 
men or women. Most women who lead lives 
actively devoted to intelligent work for others 
grow to have a certain look of serene and high 
ptupose which stamps them at once. This look 

• • • 

xoa .-•% 'VThe Strenuous Life 

• • • 

is'igmerally seen, for instance, among the higher 
tjffes of women doctors, trained nurses, and of 
;.those who devote their lives to work among the 
poor; and it is precisely this look which one so 
often sees on the faces of those public-school 
teachers who have grown to regard the welfare 
of their pupils as the vital interest of their own 
lives. It is not merely the regular day-work the 
school-teachers do, but the amotmt of attention 
they pay outside their regtdar classes; the influ- 
ence they have in shaping the lives of the boys, and 
perhaps even more of the girls, brought in contact 
with them ; the care they take of the yoimger, and 
the way they unconsciously hold up ideals to the 
elder bo5rs and girls, to whom they often represent 
the most tangible embodiment of what is best in 
American life. They are a great force for pro- 
ducing good citizenship. Above all things, they 
represent the most potent power in Americanizing 
as well as in humanizing the children of the new- 
comers of every grade who arrive here from 
Europe. Where the inmiigrant parents are able 
to make their way in the world, their children 
have no more difficulty than the children of the 
native-bom in becoming part of American life, 
in sharing all its privileges and in doing all its 
duties. But the children of the very poor of 
foreign birth would be handicapped almost as 
much as their parents, were it not for the public 

Civic Helpfulness 103 

schools and the start thus given them. Loyalty 
to the flag is taught by precept and practice in all 
these public schools, and loyalty to the principles 
of good citizenship is also taught in no merely 
perfunctory manner. 

Here I hardly touch upon the ** little red school- 
house" out in the country districts, simply be- 
cause in the country districts all of our children 
go to the same schools, and thereby get an inesti- 
mable knowledge of the solidarity of our American 
life. I have touched on this in a former article, and 
I can here only say that it would be impossible to 
overestimate the good done by the association this 
engenders, and the excellent educational work of 
the teachers. We always feel that we have given 
our children no small advantage by the mere fact 
of allowing them to go to these little district 
schools, where they all have the same treatment 
and are all tried by the same standard. But with 
us in the coimtry the district school is only philan- 
thropic in that excellent sense in which all joint 
effort for the common good is philanthropic. 

A very wholesome effect has been produced in 
great cities by the university settlements, college 
settlements, and similar efforts to do practical 
good by bringing closer together the more and the 
less fortimate in life. It is no easy task to make 
movements of this kind succeed. If managed in 
a spirit of patronizing condescension, or with 

I04 The Strenuous Life 

ignorance of the desires, needs, and passions of 
those roiind about, little good indeed will come 
from them. The fact that, instead of little, much 
good does in reality result, is due to the entirely 
practical methods and the spirit of comradeship 
shown by those foremost in these organizations. 
One particularly good feature has been their ten- 
dency to get into politics. Of cotu^e this has its 
drawbacks, but they are outweighed by the advan- 
tages. Clean politics is simply one form of applied 
good citizenship. No man can be a really good 
citizen unless he takes a lively interest in politics 
from a high standpoint. Moreover, the minute 
that a move is made in politics, the people who 
are helped and those who would help them grow 
to have a common interest which is genuine and 
absorbing instead of being in any degree artificial, 
and this will bring them together as nothing else 
would. Part of the good that results from such 
/ community of feeling is precisely like the good that 
results from the commtmity of feeling about a club, 
I football team, or baseball nine. This in itself has 
^a good side; but there is an even better side, due 
to the fact that disinterested motives are appealed 
to, and that men are made to feel that they are 
working for others, for the commtmity as a whole 
as well as for themselves. 

There remain the host of philanthropic workers 
who cannot be classed in any of the above-men- 

Civic Helpfulness 105 

tioned classes. They do most good when they are 
in touch with some organization, although, in 
addition, the strongest will keep some of their 
leisure time for work on individual lines to meet 
the cases where no organized relief will accom- 
plish anything. Philanthropy has tmdoubtedly 
been a good deal discredited both by the exceed- 
ingly noxious individuals who go into it with 
ostentation to make a reputation, and by the only 
less noxious persons who are foolish and indis- 
criminate givers. Anything that encourages pau- 
perism, anything that relaxes the manly fiber and 
lowers self-respect, is an unmixed evil. The soup- 
kitchen style of philanthropy is as thoroughly 
demoralizing as most forms of vice or oppression, 
and it is of course particularly revolting when 
some corporation or private individual tmder- 
takes it, not even in a spirit of foolish charity, 
but for purposes of self-advertisement. In a time 
of sudden and widespread disaster, caused by a 
flood, a blizzard, an earthquake, or an epidemic, 
there may be ample reason for the extension of 
charity on the largest scale to every one who needs 
it. But these conditions are wholly exceptional, 
and the methods of relief employed to meet them 
must also be treated as wholly exceptional. In 
charity the one thing always to be remembered 
is that, while any man may slip and should at once 
be helped to rise to his feet, yet no man can be 

io6 The Strenuous Life 

carried with advantage eithfer to him or to the 
commtinity. The greatest possible good can be 
done by the extension of a helping hand at the 
right moment, but the attempt to carry any one 
permanently can end in nothing but harm. The 
really hard-working philanthropists, who spend 
their lives in doing good to their neighbors, do not, 
as a rule, belong to the ** mushy" class, and thor- 
oughly realize the unwisdom of foolish and indis- 
criminate giving, or of wild and crude plans of 
social reformations. The young enthusiast who 
is for the first time brought into contact with the 
terrible suffering and stimting degradation which 
are so evident in many parts of our great cities is 
apt to become so appalled as to lose his head. If 
there is a twist in his moral or mental make-up, he 
will never regain his poise ; but if he is soimd and 
healthy he will soon realize that things being bad 
affords no justification for making them infinitely 
worse, and that the only safe rule is for each man 
to strive to do his duty in a spirit of sanity and 
wholesome common sense. No one of us can 
make the world move on very far, but it moves at 
all only when each one of a very large niunber does 
his duty. 


Published in the "Outlook," March 31, xgoo 




A YEAR or two ago I was speaking to a 
famous Yale professor, one of the most 
noted scholars in the country, and one 
who is even more than a scholar, because he is 
in every sense of the word a man. We had 
been discussing the Yale-Harvard football teams, 
and he remarked of a certain player: "I told 
them not to take him« for he was slack in his 
studies, and my experience is that, as a rule, the 
man who is slack in his studies will be slack in 
his football work; it is character that counts in 

Bodily vigor is good, and vigor of intellect is 
even better, but far above both is character. It 
is true, of cotu'se, that a genius may, on certain 
lines, do more than a brave and manly fellow who 
is not a genius; and so, in sports, vast physical 
strength may overcome weakness, even though 
the puny body may have in it the heart of a lion. 
But, in the long run, in the great battle of life, 
no brilliancy of intellect, no perfection of bodily 
development, will count when weighed in the 
balance against that assemblage of virtues, active 
and passive, of moral qualities, which we group 



no The Strenuous Life 

together iinder the name of character; and if 
between any two contestants, even in college 
sport or in college work, the difference in char- 
acter on the right side is as great as the difference 
of intellect or strength the other way, it is the 
character side that will win. 

Of course this does not mean that either intel- 
lect or bodily vigor can safely be neglected. On 
the contrary, it means that both should be 
developed, and that not the least of the benefits 
of developing both comes from the indirect effect 
which this development itself has upon the 
character. In very rude and ignorant com- 
munities all schooling is more or less looked 
down upon; but there are now very few places 
indeed in the United States where elementary 
schooling is not considered a necessity. There 
are any number of men, however, priding them- 
selves upon being "hard-headed" and "prac- 
tical" who sneer at book-learning and at every 
form of higher education, under the impression 
that the additional mental culture is at best 
useless, and is ordinarily harmful in practical 
life. Not long ago two of the wealthiest men in 
the United States publicly committed themselves 
to the proposition that to go to college was a 
positive disadvantage for a young man who 
strove for success. Now, of cotirse, the very 
most successful men we have ever had, men like 

Character and Success m 

Lincoln, had no chance to go to college, but did 
have such indomitable tenacity and such keen 
appreciation of the value of wisdom that they set 
to work and learned for themselves far more than 
they could have been taught in any academy. 
On the other hand, boys of weak fiber, who go to 
high school or college instead of going to work 
after getting through the primary schools, may 
be seriously damaged instead of benefited. But, 
as a rule, if the boy has in him the right stuff, 
it is a great advantage to him should his circum- 
stances be so fortunate as to enable him to get 
the years of additional mental training. The 
trouble with the two rich men whose views are 
above quoted was that, owing largely perhaps to 
their own defects in early training, they did not 
know what success really was. Their speeches 
merely betrayed their own limitations, and did 
not furnish any argument against education. 
Success must always include, as its first element, 
earning a competence for the support of the man 
himself, and for the bringing up of those de- 
pendent upon him. In the vast majority of 
cases it ought to include financially rather more 
than this. But the acquisition of wealth is not 
in the least the only test of success. After a 
certain amount of wealth has been acctunulated, 
the accumulation of more is of very little conse- 
quence indeed from the standpoint of success, as 

lit The Strenuous Life 

success should be understood both by the com- 
munity and the individual. Wealthy men who 
use their wealth aright are a great power for good 
in the commtmity, and help to upbuild that 
material national prosperity which must imderlie 
national greatness ; but if this were the only kind 
of success, the nation would be indeed poorly off. 
Successful statesmen, soldiers, sailors, explorers, 
historians, poets, and scientific men are also essen- 
tial to national greatness, and, in fact, very much 
more essential than any mere successful business 
man can possibly be. The average man, into 
whom the average boy develops, is, of course, 
not going to be a marvel in any line, but, if he 
only chooses to try, he can be very good in any 
line, and the chances of his doing good work are 
immensely increased if he has trained his mind. 
Of course, if, as a result of his high-school, 
academy, or college experience, he gets to think- 
ing that the only kind of learning is that to be 
found in books, he will do very little; but if he 
keeps his mental balance, — that is, if he shows 
character, — ^he will understand both what learning 
can do and what it cannot, and he will be all the 
better the more he can get. 

A good deal the same thing is true of bodily 
development. Exactly as one kind of man sneers 
at college work because he does not think it bears 
any immediate fruit in money-getting, so another 

Character and Success 1x3 

type of man sneers at college sports because he 
does not see their immediate effect for good in 
practical life. Of course, if they are carried to 
an excessive degree, they are altogether bad. It 
is a good thing for a boy to have captained his 
school or college eleven, but it is a very bad thing 
if, twenty years afterward, all that can be said 
of him is that he has continued to take an interest 
in football, baseball, or boxing, and has with 
him the memory that he was once captain. A 
very acute observer has pointed out that, not 
impossibly, excessive devotion to sports and 
games has proved a serious detriment in the 
British army, by leading the officers and even 
the men to neglect the hard, practical work of 
their profession for the sake of racing, football, 
baseball, polo, and tennis — ^tmtil they received a 
very rude awakening at the hands of the Boers. 
Of course this means merely that any healthy 
pursuit can be abused. The student in a college 
who "crams" in order to stand at the head of 
his class, and neglects his health and stimts his 
development by working for high marks, may do 
himself much damage; but all that he proves is 
that the abuse of study is wrong. The fact 
remains that the study itself is essential. So it 
is with vigorous pastimes. If rowing or football 
or baseball is treated as the end of life by any 
considerable section of a community, then that 



XI4 The Strenuous Life 

community shows itself to be in an unhealthy 
condition. If treated as it should be, — ^that is, 
as good, healthy play, — it is of great benefit, not 
only to the body, but in its effect upon character. 
To study hard implies character in the student, 
and to work hard at a sport which entails severe 
phjrsical exertion and steady training also implies 

All kinds of qualities go to make up character, 
for, emphatically, the term should include the 
positive no less than the negative virtues. If we 
say of a boy or a man, *' He is of good character," 
we mean that he does not do a great many things 
that are wrong, and we also mean that he does 
do a great many things which imply much effort 
of will and readiness to face what is disagreeable. 
He must not steal, he must not be intemperate, 
he must not be vicious in any way ; he must not 
be mean or brutal ; he must not bully the weak. 
In fact, he must refrain from whatever is evil. 
But besides refraining from evil, he must do good. 
He must be brave and energetic; he must be 
resolute and persevering. The Bible always in- 
culcates the need of the positive no less than the 
negative virtues, although certain people who 
profess to teach Christianity are apt to dwell 
wholly on the negative. We are bidden not 
merely to be harmless as doves, but also as wise 
as serpents. It is very much easier to carry out 

Character and Success 1x5 

the former part of the order than the latter; 
while, on the other hand, it is of much more 
importance for the good of mankind that our 
goodness should be accompanied by wisdom than 
that we should merely be harmless. If with the 
serpent wisdom we unite the serpent guile, ter- 
rible will be the damage we do ; and if, with the 
best of intentions, we can only manage to deserve 
the epithet of ** harmless," it is hardly worth while 
to have lived in the world at all. 

Perhaps there is no more important component 
of character than steadfast resolution. The boy 
who is going to make a great man, or is going to 
cotmt in any way in after life, must make up his 
mind not merely to overcome a thousand ob- 
stacles, but to win in spite of a thousand repulses 
or defeats. He may be able to wrest success 
along the lines on which he originally started. 
He may have to try something entirely new. On 
the one hand, he must not be volatile and irreso- 
lute, and, on the other hand, he must not fear to 
try a new line because he has failed in another. 
Grant did well as a boy and well as a young man ; 
then came a period of trouble and failure, and 
then the Civil War and his opportunity; and he 
grasped it, and rose imtil his name is among the 
greatest in our history. Yotmg Lincoln, strug- 
gling against incalculable odds, worked his way 
up, trying one thing and another until he, too, 


j xi6 The Strenuous Life 

struck out boldly into the turbulent torrent of 

our national life, at a time when only the boldest 

and wisest could so carry themselves as to win 

success and honor ; and from the struggle he won 

! both death and honor, and stands forevermore 

I among the greatest of mankind. 

! Character is shown in peace no less than in 

war. As the greatest fertility of invention, the 
" greatest perfection of armament, will not make 

( soldiers out of cowards, so no mental training and 

no bodily vigor will make a nation great if it lacks 
the fimdamental principles of honesty and moral 
cleanliness. After the death of Alexander the 
Great nearly all of the then civilized world was 
divided among the Greek monarchies ruled by 
his companions and their successors. This Greek 
world was very brilliant and very wealthy. It 
contained haughty military empires, and huge 
trading cities, under republican government, 
which attained the highest pitch of commercial 
and industrial prosperity. Art floiuished to an 
extraordinary degree ; science advanced as never 
before. There were academies for men of letters ; 
there were many orators, many philosophers. 
Merchants and business men throve apace, and 
for a long period the Greek soldiers kept the 
superiority and renown they had won tmder the 
mighty conqueror of the East. But the heart of 
the people was incurably false, incurably treach- 

••'W*- '^ 


C^x- ' '^^^^^•'^-^^'-d^/^ 

Character and Success 117 

erous and debased. Almost every statesman had 
his price, ahnost every soldier was a mercenary 
who, for a sufficient inducement, would betray 
any cause. Moral corruption ate into the whole 
social and domestic fabric, until, a little more 
than a century after the death of Alexander, the 
empire which he had left had become a mere 
glittering shell, which went down like a hotise of 
cards on impact with the Romans; for the 
Romans, with all their faults, were then a thor- 
oughly manly race — a race of strong, virile char- 

Alike for the nation and the mdividual, the 
one indispensable requisite is character— character 
that does and dares as well as endures, character 
that is active in the performance of virtue no less 
than firm in the refusal to do aught that is vicious 
or degraded. 






THE two commandments which are specially 
applicable in public life are the eighth and 
the ninth. Not only every politician, high 
or low, but every citizen interested in politics, 
and especially every man who, in a newspaper or 
on the stump, advocates or condemns any public 
policy or any public man, should remember always 
that the two cardinal points in his doctrine ought 
to be, "Thou shalt not steal," and "Thou shalt 
not bear false witness against thy neighbor." He 
should also, of course, remember that the multi- 
tude of men who break the moral law expressed 
in these two commandments are not to be justified 
because they keep out of the clutches of the human 
law. Robbery and theft, perjury and suborna- 
tion of perjury, are crimes punishable by the 
courts; but many a man who technically never 
commits any one of these crimes is yet morally 
quite as guilty as is his less adroit but not more 
wicked, and possibly infinitely less dangerous, 
brother who gets into the penitentiary. 

As regards the eighth commandment, while the 
remark of one of the f otmders of our government, 
that the whole art of politics consists in being 


122 The Strenuous Life 

honest, is an overstatement, it remains true that 
absolute honesty is what Cromwell would have 
called a "fimdamental" of healthy political life. 
We can afford to differ on the cturency, the tariff, 
and foreign policy ; but we cannot afford to differ 
on the question of honesty if we expect our repub- 
lic permanently to endure. No commimity is 
healthy where it is ever necessary to distinguish 
one politician among his fellows because "he is 
honest." Honesty is not so much a credit as an 
absolute prerequisite to efficient service to the 
public. Unless a man is honest we have no right 
to keep him in public life, it matters not how 
brilliant his capacity, it hardly matters how great 
his power of doing good service on certain lines 
may be. Probably very few men will disagree 
witi this statement in the abstract, yet in the 
concrete there is much wavering about it. The 
ntunber of public servants who actually take 
bribes is not very numerous outside of certain 
well-known centers of festering corruption. But 
the temptation to be dishonest often comes in 
insidious ways. There are not a few public men 
who, though they would repel with indignation 
an ofifer of a bribe, will give certain corporations 
special legislative and executive privileges becatise 
they have contributed heavily to campaign f tmds ; 
will permit loose and extravagant work because a 
contractor has political influence; or, at any rate, 

Commandments in Politics 123 

will permit a public servant to take public money 
without rendering an adequate return, by con- 
niving at inefficient service on the part of men 
who are protected by prominent party leaders. 
Various degrees of moral guilt are involved in the 
multitudinous actions of this kind ; but, after all, 
directly or indirectly, every such case comes dan- 
gerously near the border-line of the command- 
ment which, in forbidding theft, certainly by 
implication forbids the connivance at theft, or 
the failure to punish it. One of the favorite 
schemes of reformers is to devise some method 
by which big corporations can be prevented from 
making heavy subscriptions to campaign fimds, 
and thereby acquiring improper influence. But 
the best way to prevent them from making con- 
tributions for improper purposes is simply to 
elect as public servants, not professional de- 
noimcers of corporations, — for such men are in 
practice usually their most servile tools, — ^but 
men who say, and mean, that they will neither 
be for nor against corporations ; that, on the one 
hand, they will not be frightened from doing 
them justice by popular clamor, or, on the other 
hand, led by any interest whatsoever into doing 
them more than justice. At the Anti-Trust Con- 
ference last stuimier Mr. Bryan conmiented, with 
a sneer, on the fact that "of course" New York 
would not pass a law prohibiting contributions 

124 The Strenuous Life 

by corporations. He was right in thinking that 
New York, while it retains rational civic habits, 
will not pass ridiculous legislation which cannot 
be made effective, and which is merely intended 
to deceive dining the campaign the voters least 
capable of thought. But there will not be the 
slightest need for such legislation if only the 
public spirit is sufficiently healthy, sixfficiently 
removed alike from corruption and from dema- 
gogy, to see that each corporation receives its 
exact rights and nothing more; and this is 
exactly what is now being done in New York by 
men whom dishonest corporations dread a htm- 
dred times more than they dread the demagogic 
agitators who are a terror merely to honest 

It is, of course, not enough that a public oflScial 
should be honest. No amoimt of honesty will 
avail if he is not also brave and wise. The 
weakling and the coward cannot be saved by 
honesty alone; but without honesty the brave 
and able man is merely a civic wild beast who 
should be hunted down by every lover of right- 
eotisness. No man who is corrupt, no man who 
condones corruption in others, can possibly do 
his duty by the community. When this truth 
is accepted as axiomatic in oxu" politics, then, and 
not till then, shall we see such a moral uplifting 
of the people as will render, for instance. Tarn- 

Commandments in Politics las 

many rule in New York, as Tammany rule now 
is, no more possible than it wotild be possible 
to revive the robber baronage of the middle 

Great is the danger to our cotmtry from the 
failure among our public men to live up to the 
eighth commandment, from the callousness in 
the public which permits such shortcomings. Yet 
it is not exaggeration to say that the danger is 
quite as great from those who year in and year 
out violate the ninth commandment by bearing 
false witness against the honest man, and who 
thereby degrade him and elevate the dishonest 
man imtil they are both on the same level. The 
public is quite as much harmed m the one case 
as in the other, by the one set of wrong-doers as 
by the other. "Liar" is just as ugly a word as 
"thief," because it implies the presence of just as 
ugly a sin in one case as in the other. If a man 
lies under oath or proctires the lie of another 
under oath, if he perjxires himself or suborns per- 
jury, he is guilty under the statute law. Under 
the higher law, tmder the great law of morality 
and righteousness, he is precisely as guilty if, 
instead of lying in a court, he lies in a newspaper 
or on the sttunp; and in all probability the evil 
effects of his conduct are infinitely more wide- 
spread and more pernicious. Tlie difference 
between perjury and mendacity is not in the 

136 The Strenuous Life 

least one of morals or ethics. It is simply one of 
legal forms. 

The same man may break both commandments, 
or one group of men may be tempted to break one 
and another group of men the other. In our civic 
life the worst offenders against the law of honesty 
owe no small part of their immimity to those who 
sin against the law by bearing false witness against 
their honest neighbors. The sin is, of course, 
peculiarly revolting when coupled with hypocrisy, 
when it is committed in the name of morality. 
Few politicians do as much harm as the news- 
paper editor, the clergyman, or the lay reformer 
who, day in and day out, by virulent and un- 
truthful invective aimed at the upholders of 
honesty, weakens them for the benefit of the 
frankly vicious. We need fearless criticism of 
dishonest men, and of honest men on any point 
where they go wrong; but even more do we need 
criticism which shaU be truthftil both in what it 
says and in what it leaves imsaid — ^truthful in 
words and truthftil in the impression it designs 
to leave upon the readers' or hearers' minds. 

We need absolute honesty in public life; and 
we shall not get it imtil we remember that truth- 
telling must go hand in hand with it, and that 
it is quite as important not to tell an imtruth 
about a decent man as it is to tell the truth about 
one who is not decent. 






AMONG the people to whom we are all under 
a very real debt of obligation for the help 
they give to those seeking for good gov- 
ernment at Albany is Bishop Doane. All of us 
who at the State capital have been painfully 
striving to wrest, often from adverse conditions, 
the best results obtainable, are strengthened and 
heartened in every way by the active interest the 
bishop takes in every good cause, the keen intel- 
ligence with which he sees "the instant need of 
things," and the sane and wholesome spirit, as 
remote from fanaticism as from cynicism, in 
which he approaches all public questions. 

Quite unconsciotisly the bishop the other day 
gave an admirable summing up of his own atti- 
tude in quoting an extract from the "Life" of 
Archbishop Benson. In a letter which the arch- 
bishop wrote to his chancellor in regard to a bill 
regulating patronage in the Church of England, 
occurs the following passage: 

"The bill does not, of course, represent my 
ideal, but it is a careftil collection of points which 
cotild be claimed, which it wotild be indecent to 
refuse, and which wotdd make a considerable 

9 129 

X30 The Strenuous Life 

difference about our powers of dealing rightly 
with cases. Gain that platform, and it would be 
a footing for more ideal measures. I do not want 
the best to be any more the deadly enemy of 
the good. We climb through degrees of compar- 

This is really a description as excellent as it is 
epigranmiatic of the attitude which must be main- 
tained by every public man, by every leader and 
guide of public thought, who hopes to accomplish 
work of real worth to the commxmity. It is a 
melancholy fact that many of the worst laws put 
upon the statute-books have been put there with 
the best of intentions by thoroughly well-meaning 
people. Mere desire to do right can no more by 
itself make a good statesman than it can make a 
good general. Of course it is entirely tmnecessary 
to say that nothing atones for the lack of this 
desire to do right. Exactly as the brilliant mili- 
tary ability of an Arnold merely makes his treason 
the more abhorrent, so our statesmanship cannot 
be put upon the proper plane of purity and ability 
until the condemnation visited upon a traitor like 
Arnold is visited with no less severity upon the 
statesman who betrays the people by corruption. 
The one is as great an offense as the other. 
Military power is at an end when the honor of 
the soldier can no longer be trusted ; and, in the 
right sense of the word, civic greatness is at an 

The Best and the Good 131 

end when civic righteousness is no longer its 

But, of course, every one knows that a soldier 
must be more than merely honorable before he 
is fit to do credit to the coxmtry; and just the 
same thin^ i^ true of a statesman. He must have 
high ideals, and the leader of public opinion in the 
pulpit, in the press, on the platform, or on the 
sttimp must preach high ideals. But the pos- 
session or preaching of these high ideals may not 
only be useless, but a source of positive harm, if 
unaccompanied by practical good sense, if they 
do not lead to the effort to get the best possible 
when the perfect best is not attainable — ^and in 
this life the perfect best rarely is attainable. 
Every leader of a great reform has to contend, 
on the one hand, with the open, avowed enemies 
of the reform, and, on the other hand, with its 
extreme advocates, who wish the impossible, and 
who join hands with their extreme opponents to 
defeat the rational friends of the reform. Of 
course the typical instance of this kind of conduct 
was afforded by Wendell Phillips when in 1864 
he added his weight, slight though it was, to the 
copperhead opposition to the reelection of Abra- 
ham Lincoln. 

The alliance between Blifil and Black George 
is world-old. Blifil always acts in the name of 
morality. Often, of coiu^e, he is not moral at all. 

X3» The Strenuous Life 

It is a great mistake to think that the extremist 
is a better man than the moderate. Usually the 
difference is not that he is morally stronger, but 
that he is intellectually weaker. He is not more 
virtuous. He is simply more foolish. This is 
notably true in our American life of many of 
those who are most pessimistic in denotmcing the 
condition of oxu* politics. Certainly there is 
infinite room for improvement, infinite need of 
fearless and trenchant criticism; but the im- 
provement can only come through intelligent and 
straightforward effort. It is set back by those 
extremists who by their action always invite 
reaction, and, above all, by those worst enemies 
of our public honesty who by their incessant 
attacks upon good men give the utmost possible 
assistance to the bad. 

Offenders of this type need but a short shrift. 
Though extremists after a fashion, they are 
morally worse instead of better than the mod- 
erates. There remains, however, a considerable 
group of men who are really striving for the best, 
and who mistakenly, though in good faith, permit 
the best to be the enemy of the good. Under 
very rare conditions their attitude may be right, 
and because it is thus right once in a htmdred 
times they are apt to be blind to the harm they 
do the other ninety-nine times. These men need, 
above all, to realize that healthy growth cannot 

The Best and the Good 


normally come through revolution. A revolution 
is sometimes necessary, but if revolutions become 
habitual the country in which they take place is 
going down-hill. Hysteria in any form is incom- 
patible with sane and healthy endeavor. We 
must never compromise in a way that means 
retrogression. But in moving forward we must 
realize that normally the condition of sure prog- 
ress is that it shall not be so fast as to insure a 
revolt and a stoppage of the upward course. In 
this coxmtry especially, where what we have now 
to contend with is not so much any one concrete 
evil as a general lowering of the standards, we 
must remember that to keep these standards high 
does not at all imply that they shotild be put upon 
impossible positions — positions which must ulti- 
mately be abandoned. There can be no compro- 
mise on the great fimdamental principles of 
morality. A public man who directly or indi- 
rectly breaks the eighth commandment is just as 
guilty as an editor or a speaker who breaks the 
ninth, and it matters little whether the fatilt be 
due to venality in the one case or to morbid 
vanity and mean envy in the other. If a man is 
dishonest he should be driven from public life. 
If a course of policy is vicious and produces harm 
it should be reversed at any cost. But when we 
come to the countless measures and efforts for 
doing good, let us keep ever clearly in nmid that 

134 The Strenuous Life 

while we must always strive for the utmost good 
that can be obtain©!, and must be content with 
no less, yet that we do only harm if, by intem- 
perate championship of the impossible good, we 
cut ourselves off from the opportimity to work a 
real abatement of existing and menacing evil. 


Published in the "Outlook," July a8, 1900 




IT is customary to express wonder and horror 
at the cynical baseness of the doctrines of 
Machiavelli. Both the wonder and the 
horror are justified, — ^though it would perhaps be 
wiser to keep them for the society which the 
Italian described rather than for the describer 
himself, — ^but it is somewhat astonishing that 
there should be so little insistence upon the fact 
that Machiavelli rests his whole system upon his 
contemptuous belief in the folly and low civic 
morality of the mtiltitude, and their demand for 
fine promises and their indifference to perform- 
ance. Thus he says: "It is necessary to be a 
great deceiver and hypocrite; for men are so 
simple and yield so readily to the wants of the 
moment that he who will trick shall always find 
another who will suffer himself to be tricked. . . . 
Therefore a ruler must take great care that no 
word shall slip from his mouth that shall not be 
full of piety, trust, htimanity, religion, and simple 
faith, and he must appear to eye and ear all com- 
pact of these, . . . because the vulgar are always 
caught by appearance and by the event, and in 
this world there are none but the vulgar." 


138 The Strenuous Life 

It therefore appears that Machiavelli's system 
is predicated partly on the entire indifference to 
performance of promise by the prince and partly 
upon a greedy demand for impossible promises 
among the people. The infamy of the conduct 
championed by Machiavelli as proper for public 
men is usually what rivets the attention, but the 
folly which alone makes such infamy possible is 
quite as well worthy of study. Hypocrisy is a 
peculiariy revolting vice alike in public and 
private life; and in public life — ^at least in high 
position — it can only be practised on a large scale 
for any length of time in those places where the 
people in mass really warrant Machiavelli's de- 
scription, and are content with a complete divorce 
between promise and performance. 

It would be difficult to say which is the surest 
way of bringing about such a complete divorce: 
on the one hand, the tolerance in a public man 
of the non-performance of promises which can be 
kept; or, on the other hand, the insistence by 
the public upon promises which they either know 
or ought to know cannot be kept. When in a 
public speech or in a party platform a policy is 
outlined which it is known cannot or will not be 
pursued, the fact is a reflection not only upon the 
speaker and the platform-maker, but upon the 
public feeling to which they appeal. When a 
section of the people demand from a candidate 

Promise and Performance 139 

promises which he cannot believe that he will be 
able to fulfil, and, on his refusal, supp rt some 
man who cheerfully guarantees an immediate 
millennium, why, imder such circtmistances the 
people are striving to bring about in America 
some of the conditions of public life which pro- 
duced the profligacy and tyranny of medieval 
Italy. Such conduct means that the capacity for 
self-government has atrophied; and the hard- 
headed common sense with which the American 
people, as a whole, refuse to sanction such conduct 
is the best possible proof and guarantee of their 
capacity to perform the high and difficult task 
of administering the greatest republic upon which 
the sun has ever shone. 

There are always politicians willing, on the one 
hand, to promise everjrthing to the people, and, 
on the other, to perform everything for the 
machine or the boss, with chuckling delight in 
the success of their efforts to hoodwink the former 
and serve the latter. Now, not only shotild such 
politicians be regarded as infamous, but the people 
who are hoodwinked by them shotild share the 
blame. The man who is taken in by, or demands, 
impossible promises is not much less culpable than 
the politician who deliberately makes such prom- 
ises and then breaks faith. Thus when any 
public man says that he "will never compromise 
under any conditions," he is certain to receive 

I40 The Strenuous Life 

the applause of a few emotional people who do 
not think correctly, and the one fact about him 
that can be instantly asserted as true beyond 
peradventure is that, if he is a serious personage 
at all, he is deliberately lying, while it is only less 
certain that he will be guilty of base and dis- 
honorable compromise when the opportunity 
arises. "Compromise" is so often used in a bad 
sense that it is difficult to remember that properly 
it merely describes the process of reaching an 
agreement. Naturally there are certain subjects 
on which no man can compromise. For instance, 
there must be no compromise tmder any circum- 
stances with official corruption, and of course no 
man should hesitate to say as much. Again, an 
honest politician is entirely justified in promising 
on the stump that he will make no compromise 
on any question of right and wrong. This 
promise he can and ought to make good. But 
when questions of policy arise — and most ques- 
tions, from the tariff to mimicipal ownership of 
public utilities and the franchise tax, are primarily 
questions of policy — ^he will have to come to some 
kind of working agreement with his fellows, and 
if he says that he will not, he either deliberately 
utters what he knows to be false, or else he insures 
for himself the htmiiliation of being forced to 
break his word. No decent politician need com- 
promise in any way save as Washington and 

Promise and Performance 141 

Lincoln did. He need not go nearly as far as 
Hamilton, Jefferson, and Jackson went ; but some 
distance he miist go if he expects to accomplish 

Again, take the case of those who promise an 
impossible good to the commtmity as a whole if a 
given course of legislation is adopted. The man 
who makes such a promise ntiay be a well-meaning 
but unbalanced enthusiast, or he may be merely 
a designing demagogue. In either case the people 
who listen to and believe him are not to be 
excused, though they may be pitied. Softness of 
heart is an admirable quality, but when it extends 
its area until it also becomes softness of head, its 
results are anything but admirable. It is a good 
thing to combine a warm heart with a cool head. 
People really fit for self-government will not be 
misled by over-effusiveness in promise, and, on 
the other hand, they will demand that every 
proper promise shall be made good. 

Wise legislation and upright administration can 
tmdoubtedly work very great good to a com- 
munity, and, above all, can give to each indi- 
vidual the chance to do the best work for himself. 
But tiltimately the individual's own faculties must 
form the chief factor in working out his own sal- 
vation. In the last analysis it is the thrift, 
energy, self-mastery, and business intelligence of 
each man which have most to do with deciding 

142 The Strenuous Life 

whether he rises or falls. It is easy enough to 
devise a scheme of government which shall abso- 
lutely ntillify all these qualities and insure failure 
to everybody, whether he deserves success or not. 
But the best scheme of government can do little 
more than provide against injustice, and then let 
the individual rise or fall on his own merits. Of 
course something can be done by the State acting 
in its collective capacity, and in certain instances 
such action may be necessary to remedy real 
wrong. Gross misconduct of individuals or cor- 
porations may make it necessary for the State or 
some of its subdivisions to assiune the charge of 
what are called public utilities. But when all 
that can be done in this way has been done, when 
every individual has been saved so far as the 
State can save him from the tyranny of any other 
man or bod^'' of men, the individual's own quali- 
ties of body and mind, his own strength of heart 
and hand, will remain the determining conditions 
in his career. The people who trust to or exact 
promises that, if a certain political leader is fol- 
lowed or a certain public policy adopted, this 
great truth will cease to operate, are not merely 
leaning on a broken reed, but are working for 
their own xmdoing. 

So much for the men who by their demands 
for the impossible encourage the promise of the 
impossible, whether in the domain of economic 

Promise and Performance 143 

legislation or of legislation which has for its object 
the promotion of morality. The other side is that 
no man shotild be held excusable if he does not 
perform what he promises, tmless for the best and 
most sufficient reason. This should be especially 
true of every politician. It shows a thoroughly 
unhealthy state of mind when the public pardons 
with a laugh failure to keep a distinct pledge, on 
the groxmd that a politician cannot be expected 
to confine himself to the truth when on the stiunp 
or the platform. A man shotild no more be 
excused for lying on the sttmip than for lying off 
the sttimp. Of course matters may so change 
that it may be impossible for him, or highly 
inadvisable for the coxmtry, that he shotild try 
to do what he in good faith said he was going 
to do. But the necessity for the change should 
be made very evident, and it shotild be well 
imderstood that such a case is the exception and 
not the rule. As a rule, and speaking with due 
regard to the exceptions, it should be taken as 
axiomatic that when a man in public life pledges 
himself to a certain course of action he shall as 
a matter of cotu^e do what he said he would do, 
and shall not be held to have acted honorably 
if he does otherwise. 

All great fimdamental truths are apt to sotmd 
rather trite, and yet in spite of their triteness 
they need to be reiterated over and over again. 

144 The Strenuous Life 

The visionary or the self-seeking knave who 
promises the golden impossible, and the credulous 
dupe who is taken in by such a promise, and who 
in clutching at the impossible loses the chance of 
securing the real though lesser good, are as old as 
the political organizations of mankind. Through- 
out the history of the world the nations who have 
done best in self-government are those who have 
demanded from their public men only the promise 
of what can actually be done for righteousness 
and honesty, and who have sternly insisted that 
such promise must be kept in letter and in 

So it is with the general question of obtaining 
good government. We cannot trust the mere 
doctrinaire; we cannot trust the mere closet 
reformer, nor yet his acrid brother who himself 
does nothing, but who rails at those who endure 
the heat and btirden of the day. Yet we can 
trust still less those base beings who treat politics 
only as a game out of which to wring a soiled 
livelihood, and in whose vocabulary the word 
** practical** has come to be a synon)rm for what- 
ever is mean and corrupt. A man is worthless 
unless he has in him a lofty devotion to an ideal, 
and he is worthless also imless he strives to 
realize this ideal by practical methods. He must 
promise, both to himself and to others, only what 
he can perform ; but what really can be performed 

Promise and Performance 145 

he must promise, and such promise he must at all 
hazards make good. 

The problems that confront us in this age are, 
after all, in their essence the same as those that 
have always confronted free peoples striving to 
secure and to keep free government. No political 
philosopher of the present day can put the case 
more clearly than it was put by the wonderful 
old Greeks. Says Aristotle: "Two principles 
have to be kept in view: what is possible, what 
is becoming; at these every man ought to aim." 
Plato expresses precisely the same idea: "Those 
who are not schooled and practised in truth [who 
are not honest and upright men] can never manage 
aright the government, nor yet can those who 
spend their lives as closet philosophers; becatise 
the former have no high purpose to guide their 
actions, while the latter keep aloof from public 
life, having the idea that even while yet living 
they have been translated to the Islands of the 
Blest. . . . [Men must] both contemplate the 
good and try actually to achieve it. Thus the 
state will be settled as a reality, and not as a 
dream, like most of those inhabited by persons 
fighting about shadows."* 

1 Translated freely and condensed. 



Published in "St. Nicholas/' May, 1900 




OP course what we have a right to expect of 
the American boy is that he shall ttim out 
to be a good American man. Now, the 
chances are strong that he won't be much of a 
man unless he is a good deal of a boy. He must 
not be a coward or a weakling, a bully, a shirk, or 
a prig. He must work hard and play hard. He 
must be clear-minded and clean-lived, and able to 
hold his own under all circtmistances and against 
all comers. It is only on these conditions that he 
will grow into the kind of American man of whom 
America can be really proud. 

There are always in life cotmtless tendencies for 
good and for evil, and each succeeding generation 
sees some of these tendencies strengthened and 
some weakened ; nor is it by any means always, 
alas I that the tendencies for evil are weakened and 
those for good strengthened. But during the last 
few decades there certainly have been some nota- 
ble changes for good in boy life. The great growth 
in the love of athletic sports, for instance, while 
fraught with danger if it becomes one-sided and 
unhealthy, has beyond all question had an excel- 
lent eflEect in increased manliness. Forty or fifty 


ISO The Strenuous Life 

years ago the writer on American morals was sure 
to deplore the effeminacy and Itixiiry of yotmg 
Americans who were bom of rich parents. The 
boy who was well off then, especially in the big 
Eastern cities, lived too luxuriously, took to bil- 
liards as his chief innocent recreation, and felt 
small shame in his inability to take part in rough 
pastimes and field-sports. Nowadays, whatever 
other fatdts the son of rich parents may tend to 
develop, he is at least forced by the opinion of all 
his associates of his own age to bear himself well in 
(' manly exercises and to develop his body — and 
! therefore, to a certain extent, his character — in the 
: rough sports which call for pluck, endurance, and 
I physical address. 

Of course boys who live under such fortunate 
conditions that they have to do either a good deal 
of outdoor work or a good deal of what might be 
called natural outdoor play do not need this ath- 
letic development. In the Civil War the soldiers 
who came from the prairie and the backwoods and 
the rugged farms where sttmips still dotted the 
clearings, and who had learned to ride in their 
infancy, to shoot as soon as they could handle a 
rifle, and to camp out whenever they got the 
chance, were better fitted for military work than 
any set of mere school or college athletes could 
possibly be. Moreover, to mis-estimate athletics 
is equally bad whether their importance is magni- 

The American Boy tsi 

fied or minimized. The Greeks were tamous ath- 
letes, and as long as their athletic training had a 
normal place in their lives, it was a good thing. 
But it was a very bad thing when they kept up 
their athletic games while letting the stem quali- 
ties of soldiership and statesmanship sink into dis- 
use. Some of the younger readers of this book will 
certainly sometime read the famous letters of the 
younger Pliny, a Roman who wrote, with what 
seems to us a curiously modem touch, in the first 
century of the present era. His correspondence 
with the Emperor Trajan is particularly interest- 
ing; and not the least noteworthy thing in it is 
the tone of contempt with which he speaks of the 
Greek athletic sports, treating them as the diver- 
sions of an imwarlike people which it was safe to 
encoiuage in order to keep the Greeks from ttiming 
into anything formidable. So at one time the 
Persian kings had to forbid polo, because soldiers 
neglected their proper duties for the fascinations 
of the game. We cannot expect the best work 
from soldiers who have carried to an unhealthy 
extreme the sports and pastimes which would be 
healthy if indulged in with moderation, and have 
neglected to leam as they should the business of 
their profession. A soldier needs to know how to 
shoot and take cover and shift for himself — ^not to 
box or play football. There is, of course, always 
the risk of thtis mistaking means for ends. Fox- 

iS2 The Strenuous Life 

htinting is a first-class sport ; but one of the most 
abstird things in real life is to note the bated breath 
with which certain excellent fox-hunters, other- 
wise of quite healthy minds, speak of this admir- 
able but not over-important pastime. They tend 
to make it almost as much of a fetish as, in the last 
century, the French and German nobles made the 
chase of the stag, when they carried hunting and 
game-preserving to a point which was ruinous to 
the national life. Fox-himting is very good as a 
pastime, but it is about as poor a business as can 
be followed by any man of intelligence. Certain 
writers about it are fond of quoting the anecdote 
of a fox-htmter who, in the days of the English 
civil war, was discovered pursuing his favorite 
sport just before a great battle between the Cava- 
liers and the Puritans, and right between their 
lines as they came together. These writers appa- 
rently consider it a merit in this man that when 
his cotmtry was in a death-grapple, instead of 
taking arms and hurrying to the defense of 
the cause he believed right, he shotdd placidly 
have gone about his usual sports. Of course, in 
reality the chief serious use of fox-himting is to 
encourage manliness and vigor, and to keep men 
hardy, so that at need they can show themselves 
fit to take part in work or strife for their native 
land. When a man so far confuses ends and 
means as to think that fox-hvinting, or polo, or 




BH^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ -*' i^^^S 

The American Boy 153 

football, or whatever else the sport may be, is to 

be itself taken as the end, instead of as the mere 

/'means of preparation to do work that coimts when 

'^he time arises, when the occasion calls — why, that 

man had better abandon sport altogether. 

No boy can afford to neglect his work, and with 
a boy work, as a rule, means study. Of cotirse 
there are occasionally brilliant successes in life 
where the man has been worthless as a student 
when a boy. To take these exceptions as exam- 
ples would be as unsafe as it would be to advocate 
blindness because some blind men have won un- 
dying honor by triumphing over their physical 
infirmity and accomplishing great restdts in the 
world. I am no advocate of senseless and exces- 
sive cramming in studies, but a boy shotdd work, 
and shotdd work hard, at his lessons — in the first 
place, for the sake of what he will learn, and in the 
next place, for the sake of the effect upon his own 
character of resolutely settling down to learn it. 
Shiftlessness, slackness, indifference in studying, 
are almost certain to mean inability to get on in 
other walks of life. Of course, as a boy grows 
older it is a good thing if he can shape his studies 
in the direction toward which he has a nattiral 
bent ; but whether he can do this or not, he must 
put his whole heart into them. I do not believe 
in mischief -doing in school hours, or in the kind 
of animal spirits that results in making bad 

154 The Strenuous Life 

scholars ; and I believe that those boys who take 
part in rough, hard play outside of school will not 
find any need for horse-play in school. While they 
study they should study just as hard as they play 
football in a match game. It is wise to obey the 
homely old adage, "Work while you work; play 
while you play." 

A boy needs both physical and moral courage. 
Neither can take the place of the other. When 
boys become men they will find out that there are 
some soldiers very brave in the field who have 
proved timid and worthless as politicians, and 
some politicians who show an entire readiness to 
take chances and asstmie responsibilities in civil 
affairs, but who lack the fighting edge when op- 
posed to physical danger. In each case, with sol- 
diers and politicians alike, there is but half a virtue. 
The possession of the courage of the soldier does 
not excuse the lack of courage in the statesman 
and, even less does the possession of the courage 
of the statesman excuse shrinking on the field of 
battle. Now, this is all just as true of boys. A cow- 
ard who will take a blow without returning it is a 
contemptible creature ; but, after all, he is hardly 
as contemptible as the boy who dares not stand up 
for what he deems right against the sneers of his 
companions who are themselves wrong. Ridicule 
is one of the favorite weapons of wickedness, and 
it is sometimes incomprehensible how good and 

The American Boy 155 

brave boys will be influenced for evil by the jeers 
of associates who have no one quality that calls 
for respect, but who affect to laugh at the very 
traits which ought to be peculiarly the cause for 

There is no need to be a prig. There is no need 
for a boy to preach about his own good conduct 
and virtue. If he does he will make himself offen- 
sive and ridiculous. But there is urgent need that 
he should practise decency; that he should be 
clean and straight, honest and truthful, gentle and 
tender, as well as brave. If he can once get to a 
proper imderstanding of things, he will have a far 
more hearty contempt for the boy who has begun 
a course of feeble dissipation, or who is untruthful, 
or mean, or dishonest, or cruel, than this boy and 
his fellows can possibly, in return, feel for him. 
The very fact that the boy should be manly and 
able to hold his own, that he should be ashamed 
to submit to bullying without instant retaliation, 
should, in return, make him abhor any form of 
bullying, cruelty, or brutality. 

There are two delightful books, Thomas Hughes's 
"Tom Brown at Rugby," and Aldrich's "Story of 
a Bad Boy," which I hope every boy still reads; 
and I think American boys will always feel more 
in sympathy with Aldrich's story, because there 
is in it none of the fagging, and the bullying which 
goes with fagging, the accoimt of which, and the 

156 The Strenuous Life 

acceptance of which, always puzzle an American 
admirer of Tom Brown. 

There is the same contract between two stories 
of Kipling's. One, called '{Captains Courageous," 
describes in the liveliest way- just what a boy 
should be and do. The hero is painted in the 
beginning as the spoiled, over-indulged child of 
wealthy parents, of a type which we do sometimes 
unfortimately see, and than which there exist few 
things more objectionable on the face of the broad 
earth. This boy is afterward thrown on his own 
resources, amid wholesome surrotmdings, and is 
forced to work hard among boys and men who are 
real boys and real men doing real work. The 
effect is invaluable. On the other hand, if one 
wishes to find t5rpes of boys to be avoided with 
utter dislike, one will find them in another story 
by Kipling, called "Stalky & Co.," a story which 
ought never to have been written, for there is 
hardly a single form of meanness which it does not 
seem to extol, or of school mismanagement which 
it does not seem to applaud. Bullies do not make 
brave men; and boys or men of foul life cannot 
become good citizens, good Americans, imtil they 
change ; and even after the change scars will be 
left on their souls. 

The boy can best become a good man by being 
a good boy — ^not a goody-goody boy, but jtist a 
plain good boy. I do not mean that he must love 

The American Boy isr 

only the negative virtues ; I mean he must love the 
positive virtues also. *'Good," in the largest 
sense, should include whatever is fine, straight- 
forward, clean, brave, and manly. The best boys 
I know — the best men I know — ^are good at their 
studies or their business, fearless and stalwart, 
hated and feared by all that is wicked and de- 
praved, incapable of submitting to wrong-doing, 
and equally incapable of being aught but tender 
to the weak and helpless. A healthy-minded boy 
should feel hearty contempt for the coward, and 
even more hearty indignation for the boy who 
bullies girls or small boys, or tortures animals. 
One prime reason for abhorring cowards is because 
every good boy should have it in him to thrash the 
objectionable boy as the need arises. 

Of course the effect that a thoroughly manly, 
thoroughly straight and upright boy can have 
upon the companions of his own age, and upon 
those who are yoimger, is incalculable. If he is 
not thoroughly manly, then they will not respect 
him, and his good qualities will coimt for but little ; 
while, of course, if he is mean, cruel, or wicked, 
then his physical strength and force of mind 
merely make him so much the more objectionable 
a member of society. He cannot do good work 
if he is not strong and does not try with his whole 
heart and soul to count in any contest; and his 
strength will be a curse to himself and to every one 

is8 The Strenuous Life 

dse if he does not have thorough command over 
himself and over his own evil passions, and if he 
does not use his strength on the side of decency, 
justice, and fair dealing. 

P In short, in life, as in a football game, the prin- 

' dple to follow is : 

Hit the line hard ; don't foul and don't shirk, 
but hit the line hard ! 


Published in thi "Cbntvrt," Noveubek, 1899 




AT the outbreak of the Spanish-American war, 
M. Pierre Loti, member of the French Acad- 
emy and ctdtivated exponent of the hopes 
and beliefs of the average citizen of continental 
Europe in regard to the contest, was at Madrid. 
Dewey's victory caused him grief ; but he consoled 
himself, after watching a parade of the Spanish 
troops, by remarking: "They are indeed still the 
solid and splendid Spanish troops, heroic in every 
epoch — ^it needs only to look at them to divine the 
woe that awaits the American shopkeepers when 
brought face to face with such soldiers." The 
excellent M. Loti had already explained Manila 
by vague references to American bombs loaded 
with petroletun, and to a devilish mechanical 
ingenuity wholly unaccompanied by either human- 
ity or courage, and he still allowed himself to dwell 
on the hope that there were reserved for America 
des surprises sanglantes. 

M. Loti's views on military matters need not 
detain us, for his attitude toward the war was 
merely the attitude of continental Europe gen- 
erally, in striking contrast to that of England. 
But it is a curious fact that his view reflects not 
XX x6x 

i62 The Strenuous Life 

tinfairly two different opinions, which two different 
classes of our people wotild have expressed before 
the event — opinions singularly falsified by the fact. 
Our pessimists feared that we had lost courage and 
fighting capacity ; some of our optimists asserted 
that we needed neither, in view of our marvelotis 
wealth and extraordinary inventiveness and me- 
chanical skill. The national trait of * ' smartness, *' 
used in the Yankee sense of the word, has very 
good and very bad sides. Among the latter is its 
tendency to create the belief that we need not pre- 
\ /pare for war, because somehow we shall be able to 
\win by some novel patent device, some new trick 
or new invention developed on the spur of the 
moment by the ingenuity of our people. In this 
way it is hoped to provide a substitute for pre- 
paredness — that is, for years of patient and faith- 
ful attention to detail in advance. It is even 
sometimes said that these mechanical devices will 
be of so terrible a character as to nullify the 
courage which has always in the past been the 
prime factor in winning battles. 

Now, as all sound military judges knew in ad- 
vance must inevitably be the case, the experience 
of the Spanish war completely falsified every pre- 
diction of this kind. We did not win through any 
special ingenuity. Not a device of any kind was 
improvised during or immediately before the war 
wHch was of any practical service. The " bombs 

Preparedness and Unpreparedness 163 

enveloped in petrolexim" had no existence save in 
the brains of the Spaniards and their more credu- 
lous sympathizers. Oiu* navy won because of its 
preparedness and because of the splendid seaman- 
ship and gunnery which had been handed down as 
traditional in the service, and had been perfected 
by the most careful work. The army, at the only 
point where it was seriously opposed, did its work 
by sheer dogged cotirage and hard fighting, in 
spite of an unpreparedness which almost brought 
disaster upon it, and would without doubt actually 
have done so had not the defects and shortcomings 
of the Spanish administration been even greater 
than our own. 

We won the war in a very short time, and with- 
out having to expend more than the merest frac- 
tion of our strength. The navy was shown to be 
in good shape ; and Secretary Root, to whom the 
wisdom of President McKinley has intrusted the 
War Department, has already shown himself as 
good a man as ever held the portfolio — a man 
whose administration is certainly to be of inesti- 
mable service to the army and to the country. In 
consequence, too many of our people show signs 
of thinking that, after all, everything was all right, 
and is all right now ; that we need not bother our- 
selves to learn any lessons that are not agreeable 
to us, and that if in the future we get into a war 
with a more formidable power than Spain, we 

i64 The Strenuous Life 

shall pull through somehow. Such a view is un- 
just to the nation, and particularly unjust to the 
splendid men of the army and of the navy, who 
would be sacrificed to it, should we ever engage in 
a serious war without having learned the lessons 
that the year 1898 ought to have taught. 

If we wish to get an explanation of the efficiency 
of our navy in 1898, and of the astonishing ease 
with which its victories were won, we mtist go a 
long way back of that year, and study not oniy its 
history, but the history of the Spanish navy for 
many decades. Of course any such study must 
begin with a prompt admission of the splendid 
natxiral quality of our officers and men. On the 
bridge, in the gun-turrets, in the engine-room, and 
behind the quick-firers, every one alike, from the 
highest to the lowest, was eager for the war, and 
was, in heart, mind, and body, of the very type 
which makes the best kind of fighting man. 

Many of the officers of our ships have mentioned 
to me that during the war ptmishments almost 
ceased, becatise the men who got into scrapes in 
times of peace were so aroused and excited by the 
chance of battle that their behavior was perfect. 
We read now and then of foreign services where 
men hate their officers, have no commtmity of 
interest with them, and no desire to fight for the 
flag. Most emphatically such is not the case in 
our service. The discipline is just but not severe, 

Preparedness and Unpreparedness 165 

unless severity is imperatively called for. As a 
whole, the officers have the welfare of the men 
very much at heart, and take care of their bodies 
with the same forethought that they show in train- 
ing them for battle. The physique of the men is 
excellent, and to it are joined eagerness to leam, 
and readiness to take risks and to stand danger 

Nevertheless, all this, though indispensable as 
a base, would mean nothing whatever for the 
efficiency of the navy without years of careful 
preparation and training. A warship is such a 
complicated machine, and such highly specialized 
training is self -evidently needed to command it, 
that our naval commanders, unlike our military 
commanders, are freed from having to combat the 
exasperating belief that the average civilian could 
at short notice do their work. Of course, in 
reality a special order of ability and special train- 
ing are needed to enable a man to command troops 
successfully ; but the need is not so obviotis as on 
shipboard. No civilian could be five minutes on 
a battleship without realizing his unfitness to com- 
mand it; but there are any number of civilians 
who firmly believe they can command regiments, 
when they have not a single trait, natural or 
acquired, that really fits them for the task. A 
bltmder in the one case meets with instant, open, 
and terrible ptinishment ; in the other, it is at the 

i66 The Strenuous Life 

moment only a source of laughter or exasperation 
to the few, ominotis though it may be for the 
future. A colonel who issued the wrong order 
would cause confusion. A ship-captain by such 
an order might wreck his ship. It follows that the 
navy is comparatively free in time of war from the 
presence in the higher ranks of men utterly tmfit 
to perform their duties. The nation realizes that 
it cannot improvise naval officers even out of first- 
rate skippers of merchantmen and passenger- 
steamers. Such men could be used to a certain 
extent as under-officers to meet a sudden and 
great emergency; but at best they would meet it 
imperfectly, and this the public at large under- 

There is, however, some failure to understand 
that much the same condition prevails among 
ordinary seamen. The public speakers and news- 
paper writers who may be loudest in clamoring for 
war are often precisely the men who clamor against 
preparations for war. Whether from sheer igno- 
rance or from demagogy, they frequently assert 
that, as this is the day of mechanics, even on the 
r sea, and as we have a large mechanical population, 
! we could at once fit out any number of vessels with 
^ \ men who would from the first do their duty thor- 
oughly and well. 

" As a matter of fact, though the sea-mechanic 
has replaced the sailorman, yet it is almost as 

Preparedness and Unpreparedness 167 

necessary as ever that a man shotild have the sea 
habit in order to be of use aboard ship ; and it is 
infinitely more necessary than in former times that 
a man-of-war*s-man should have especial training 
with his guns before he can use them aright. In 
the old days cannon were very simple; sighting 
was done roughly ; and the ordinary merchant sea- 
man speedily grew fit to do his share of work on a 
frigate. Nowadays men must be carefiilly trained 
for a considerable space of time before they can be 
of any assistance whatever in handling and getting 
good results from the formidable engines of de- 
struction on battleship, cruiser, and torpedo-boat. 
Crews cannot be improvised. To get the very best 
work out of them, they should all be composed of 
trained and seasoned men ; and in any event they 
should not be sent against a formidable adversary 
unless each crew has for a nucleus a large body of 
such men filling all the important positions. From 
time immemorial it has proved impossible to im- 
provise so much as a makeshift navy for use 
against a formidable naval opponent. Any such 
effort must meet with disaster. 

Most fortimately, the United States had grown 
to realize this some time before the Spanish war 
broke out. After the gigantic Civil War the 
reaction from the strain of the contest was such 
that our navy was permitted to go to pieces. Fif- 
teen years after the close of the contest in which 

i68 The Strenuous Life 

Farragut took rank as one of the great admirals 
of all time, the splendid navy of which he was the 
chief ornament had become an object of derision 
to every third-rate power in Europe and South 
America. The elderly monitors and wooden 
steamers, with their old-fashioned smooth-bore 
guns, would have been as incompetent to face the 
modem ships of the period as the Congress and the 
^Cumberland were to face the Merrimac. Our men 
were as brave as ever, but in war their courage 
would have been of no more avail than the splen- 
did valor of the men who sank with their guns 
firing and flags flying when the great Confederate 
ironclad came out to Hampton Roads. 

At last the nation awoke from its lethargy. 
In 1883, imder the administration of President 
Arthur, when Secretary Chandler was in the Navy 
Department, the work was begun. The first step 
taken was the refusal to repair the more antiquated 
wooden ships, and the building of new jteel ships 
to replace them. One of the ships thus laid down 
was the Boston, which was in Dewey's fleet. It is 
therefore merely the literal truth to say that the 
preparations which made Dewey's victory possible 
began just fifteen years before the famous day 
when he steamed into Manila Bay. Every sen- 
ator and congressman who voted an appropriation 
which enabled Secretary Chandler to begin the 
upbuilding of the new navy, the President who 

Preparedness and Unpreparcdness 169 

advised the cotirse, the secretary who had the 
direct management of it, the ship-builder in whose 
yard the ship was constructed, the skilled experts 
who planned her hull, engine, and guns, and the 
skilled workmen who worked out these plans, all 
alike are entitled to their share in the credit of the 
great Manila victory. 

The majority of the men can never be known 
by name, but the fact that they did well their part 
in the deed is of vastly more importance than the 
obtaining of any reward for it, whether by way of 
recognition or otherwise ; and this fact will always 
remain. Nevertheless, it is important for our own 
future that, so far as possible, we should recognize 
the men who did well. This is peculiarly impor- 
tant in the case of Congress, whose action has been 
the indispensable prerequisite for every effort to 
build up the navy, as Congress provided the 
means for each step. 

As there was always a division in Congress, 
while in the popular mind the whole body is apt 
to be held accotmtable for any deed, good or ill, 
done by the majority, it is much to be wished, in 
the interest of justice, that some special historian 
of the navy would take out from the records the 
votes, and here and there the speeches, for and 
against the successive measures by which the navy 
was built up. Every man who by vote and voice 
from time to time took part in adding to our fleet, 

I70 The Strenuous Life 

in bu)ang the armor, in preparing the gun-fac- 
tories, in increasing the personnel and enabling it 
to practise, deserves well of the whole nation, and 
a record of his action shotild be kept, that his 
children may feel proud of him. No less cleariy 
should we understand that throughout these 
fifteen years the men who, whether from honest 
but misguided motives, from short-sightedness, 
from lack of patriotism, or from demagogy, op- 
posed the building up of the navy, have deserved 
ill of the nation, exactly as did those men who 
recently prevented the purchase of armor for the 
battleships, or, under the lead of Senator Gk)rman, 
prevented the establishment of our army on the 
footing necessary for our national needs. If dis- 
aster comes through lack of preparedness, the 
fault necessarily lies far less with the men under 
whom the disaster actually occurs than with those 
to whose wrong-headedness or short-sighted indif- 
ference in time past the lack of preparedness is due. 
The mistakes, the bltmders, and the short- 
comings in the army management during the sum- 
mer of 1898 should be credited mainly, not to any 
one in office in 1898, but to the public servants of 
the people, and therefore to the people themselves, 
who permitted the army to rust since the Civil War 
with a wholly faulty administration, and with no 
chance whatever to perfect itself by practice, as 
the navy was perfected. In like manner, any 

Preparedness and Unpreparedncss 171 

trouble that may come upon the army, and there- 
fore upon the nation, in the next few years, will 
be due to the failure to provide for a thoroughly 
reorganized regular army of adequate size in 1898 ; 
and for this f aflure the members in the Senate and 
the House who took the lead against increasing 
the regular army, and reorganizing it, will be 
primarily responsible. On them will rest the 
blame of any check to the national arms, and the 
honor that will undoubtedly be won for the flag 
by our army will have been won in spite of their 
sinister opposition. 

In May, 1898, when our battleships were lying 
off Havana and the Spanish torpedo-boat de- 
stroyers were crossing the ocean, our best com- 
manders felt justifiable anxiety because we had 
no destroyers to guard our fleet against the Span- 
ish destroyers. Thanks to the blimders and lack 
of initiative of the Spaniards, they made no good 
use whatever of their formidable boats, sending 
them against oiu* ships in daylight, when it was 
hopeless to expect anjrthing from them. 

But in war it is tmsaf e to trust to the blunders 
of the adversary to offset our own blunders. Many 
a naval officer, when with improvised craft of 
small real worth he was trying to guard our battle- 
ships against the terrible possibilities of an attack 
by torpedo-boat destroyers in the darkness, must 
have thought with bitterness how a year before, 

172 The Strenuous Life 

when Senator Lcxige and those who thought like 
him were striving to secure an adequate support 
of large, high-class torpedo-boats, the majority of 
the Senate followed the lead of Senator Gk)rman in 
opposition. So in the future, if what we all most 
earnestly hope will not happen does happen, and 
we are engaged in war with some formidable sea 
power, any failure of our arms resulting from an 
inadequate ntimber of battleships, or imperfectly 
prepared battleships, will have to be credited to 
those members of Congress who opposed increas- 
ing the nimiber of ships, or opposed giving them 
proper armament, for no matter what reason. On 
the other hand,^he national consciousness of 
capacity to vindicate national hono^must be due 
mainly to the action of those congressmen who 
have in fact built up our fleet. 

Secretary Chandler was succeeded by a line of 
men, each of whom, however he might differ from 
the others politically and personally, sincerely 
desired and strove hard for the upbuilding of the 
navy. Under Messrs. Whitney, Tracy, Herbert, 
and Long the work has gone steadily forward, 
thanks, of course, to the fact that successive Con- 
gresses, Democratic and Republican alike, have 
permitted it to go forward. 

But the appropriation of money and the build- 
ing of ships were not enough. We must keep 
Steadily in mind that not only was it necessary to 

itii Mi 

Preparedness and Unpreparedness 173 

btiild the navy, but it was equally necessary to 
train otir officers and men aboard it by actual 
practice. If in 1883 we had been able suddenly 
to purchase our present battleships, cruisers, and 
torpedo-boats, they could not have been handled 
with any degree of efficiency by our officers and 
crews as they then were. Still less would it be 
possible to handle them by improvised crews. In 
an emergency bodies of men like our naval militia 
can do special bits of work excellently, and, 
thanks to their high average of character and in- 
tellect, they are remarkably good makeshifts, but 
it would be folly to expect from them all that is 
expected from a veteran crew of trained man-of- 
war's-men. And if we are ever pitted ship for 
ship on equal terms against the first-class navy of 
a first-class power, we shall need our best captains 
and our best crews if we are to win. 

As fast as the new navy was built we had to 
break in the men to handle it. The young officers 
who first took hold and developed the possibilities 
of our torpedo-boats, for instance, really deserve 
as much credit as their successors have rightly 
received for handling them with dash and skill 
during the war. The admirals who first exer- 
cised the new ships in squadrons were giving the 
training without which Dewey and Sampson would 
have foimd their tasks incomparably more diffi- 
cult. As for the ordinary officers and seamen, of 

174 The Strenuous Life 

course it was their incessant practice in handling 
the ships and the guns at sea, in all kinds of 
weather, both alone and in company, year in and 
year out, that made them able to keep up the 
never-relaxing night blockade at Santiago, to 
steam into Manila Bay in the darkness, to prevent 
breakdowns and make repairs of the machinery, 
and finally to hit what they aimed at when the 
battle was on. In the naval bureaus the great 
bulk of what in the army would be called staff 
places are held by line officers. The men who 
made ready the guns were the same men who after- 
ward used them. In the Engineering Btu-eau 
were the men who had handled or were to handle 
the engines in action. The Bureau of Navigation, 
the Bureau of Equipment, the Bureau of Informa- 
tion, were held by men who had commanded ships 
in actual service, or who were thus to command 
them against the Spaniards. The head of the 
Bureau of Navigation is the chief of staff, and he 
has always been an officer of distinction, detailed, 
like all of the other bureau chiefs, for special ser- 
vice. From the highest to the lowest officer, 
every naval man had seen and taken part, during 
time of peace, in the work which he would have 
to do in time of war. The commodores and cap- 
tains who took active part in the war had com- 
manded fleets in sea service, or at the least had 
been in command of single ships in these fleets. 

Preparedness and Unpreparedness 175 

There was not one thing they were to do in war 
which they had not done in peace, save actually 
receive the enemy's fire. 

Contrast this with the army. The material in 
the army is exactly as good as that in the navy, 
and in the lower ranks the excellence is as great. 
In no service, ashore or afloat, in the world could 
better men of their grade be fotmd than the lieu- 
tenants, and indeed the captains, of the infantry 
and dismotmted cavalry at Santiago. But in the 
army the staff bureaus are permanent positions, 
instead of being held, as of course they should be, 
by officers detailed from the line, with the needs 
of the line and experiences of actual service fresh 
in their minds. 

The artillery had for thirty-five years had no 
field-practice that was in the slightest degree ade- 
quate to its needs, or that compared in any way 
with the practice received by the different com- 
panies and troops of the infantry and cavalry. 
The bureaus in Washington were absolutely en- 
meshed in red tape, and were held for the most 
part by elderly men, of fine records in the past, 
who were no longer fit to break through routine 
and to show the extraordinary energy, business 
capacity, initiative, and willingness to accept 
responsibility which were needed. Finally, the 
higher officers had been absolutely denied that 
chance to practise their profession to which the 

176 The Strenuous Life 

higher officers of the navy had long been accus- 
tomed. Every time a warship goes to sea and 
cruises around the world, its captain has just such 
an experience as the colonel of a regiment would 
have if sent off for a six or eight months' march, 
and if during those six or eight months he inces- 
santly practised his regiment in every item of duty 
which it would have to perform in battle. Every 
warship in the American navy, and not a single 
regiment in the American army, had had this 

Every naval captain had exercised command for 
long periods, under conditions which made up 
nine-tenths of what he would have to encotmter 
in war. Hardly a colonel had such an experience 
to his credit. The regiments were not even assem- 
bled, but were scattered by companies here and 
there. After a man ceased being a junior captain 
he usually had hardly any chance for field-service ; 
it was the lieutenants and junior captains who did 
most of the field-work in the West of recent years. 
Of course there were exceptions ; even at Santiago 
there were generals and colonels who showed them- 
selves not only good fighters, but masters of their 
profession; and in the Philippines the war has 
developed admirable leaders, so that now we have 
ready the right man ; but the general rule remains 
true. The best man alive, if allowed to rust at a 
three-company post, or in a garrison near some big 


Preparedness and Unpreparedness 177 

city, for ten or fifteen years, will find himself in 
straits if suddenly called to command a division, 
or mayhap even an army corps, on a foreign expe- 
dition, especially when not one of his important 
subordinates has ever so much as seen five thou- 
sand troops gathered, fed, sheltered, maneuvered, 
and shipped. The marvel is, not that there was 
bltmdering, but that there was so little, in the late 
war with Spain. 

Captain (now Colonel) John Bigelow, Jr., in his 
account of his personal experiences in command 
of a troop of cavalry during the Santiago cam- 
paign, has pictured the welter of confusion during 
that campaign, and the utter lack of organization, 
and of that skilled leadership which can come only 
through practice. His book should be studied by 
every man who wishes to see our army made what 
it should be. In the Santiago campaign the army 
was more than once tmcomfortably near grave 
disaster, from which it was saved by the remark- 
able fighting qualities of its individual fractions, 
and, above all, by the incompetency of its foes. 
To go against a well-organized, well-handled, well- 
led foreign foe tmder such conditions would inev- 
itably have meant failure and humiliation. Of 
course party demagogues and the thoughtless 
generally are sure to credit these disasters to the 
people imder whom they occur, to the secretary, 
or to the commander of the army. 


178 The Strenuous Life 

As a matter of fact, the blame must rest in all 
such cases far less with them than with those 
responsible for the existence of the system. Even 
if we had the best secretary of war the cotmtry 
could supply and the best general the army could 
furnish, it would be impossible for them offhand 
to get good results if the nation, through its repre- 
sentatives, had failed to make adequate provision 
for a proper army, and to provide for the reorgan- 
ization of the army and for its practice in time of 
peace. The whole staff system, and much else, 
should be remodeled. Above all, the army should 
be practised in mass in the actual work of march- 
ing and camping. Only thus will it be possible to 
train the commanders, the quartermasters, the 
commissaries, the doctors, so that they may by 
actual experience leam to do their duties, as naval 
officers by actual experience have learned to do 
theirs. Only thus can we do full justice to as 
splendid and gallant a body of men as any nation 
ever had the good luck to include among its armed 


Published in "McClurb's Magazine/' October, 1899 




ADMIRAL DEWEY has done more than add 
a glorioiis page to otir history; more even 
than do a deed the memory of which will 
always be an inspiration to his coimtrymen, and 
especially his cotmtrymen of his own profession. 
He has also taught us a lesson which should have 
profound practical effects, if only we are willing to 
leam it aright. 

In the first place, he partly grasped and partly 
made his opporttmity. Of course, in a certain 
sense, no man can absolutely make an opportu- 
nity. There were a ntmiber of admirals who 
during the dozen years preceding the Spanish war 
were retired without the opportunity of ever 
coming where it was possible to distinguish them- 
selves ; and it may be that some of these lacked 
nothing but the chance. Nevertheless, when the 
chance does come, only the great man can see it 
instantly and use it aright. In the second place, 
it must always be remembered that the power of 
using the chance aright comes only to the man who 
has f aithftdly and for long years made ready him- 
self and his weapons for the possible need. Finally, 
and most important of all, it should ever be kept 


x8a The Strenuous Life 

in mind that the man who does a great work must 
ahnost invariably owe the possibility of doing it to 
the faithful work of other men, either at the time 
or long before. Without his brilliancy their labor 
might be wasted, but without their labor his bril- 
liancy would be of no avail. 

It has been said that it was a mere accident that 
Dewey happened to be in command of the Asiatic 
Squadron when the war with Spain broke out. 
This is not the fact. He was sent to command it 
in the falJ of 1897, because, to use the very lan- 
guage employed at the time, it was deemed wise 
to have there a man *' who could go into Manila if 
necessary." He owed the appointment to the 
high professional reputation he enjoyed, and to 
the character he had established for willingness 
to accept responsibility, for sotmd judgment, and 
for entire fearlessness. 

Probably the best way (although no way is 
infallible) to tell the worth of a naval commander 
as yet tmtried in war is to get at the estimate in 
which he is held by the best fighting men who 
would have to serve tmder him. In the siunmer 
of 1897 there were in Washington captains and 
commanders who later won honor for themselves 
and their country in the war with Spain, and who 
were already known for the dash and skill with 
which they handled their ships, the excellence of 
their gun practice, the good discipline of their 


■. ar. 


Admiral Dewey 183 

crews, and their eager desire to win honorable 
renown. All these men were a unit in their faith 
in the then Commodore Dewey, in their desire to 
serve under him, should the chance arise, and in 
their unquestioning belief that he was the man to 
meet an emergency in a way that would do credit 
to the flag. 

An excellent test is afforded by the readiness 
which the man has shown to take responsibility 
in any emergency in the past. One factor in 
Admiral Dewey's appointment — of which he is 
very possibly ignorant — ^was the way in which he 
had taken responsibility in purchasing coal for the 
squadron that was to have been used against Chile, 
if war with Chile had broken out, at the time Gen- 
eral Harrison was President. A service will do 
well or ill at the outbreak of war very much in pro- 
portion to the way it has been prepared to meet 
the outbreak during the preceding months. Now, 
it is often impossible to say whether the symptoms 
that seem to forbode war will or will not be fol- 
lowed by war. At one time, under President Har- 
rison, we seemed as near war with Chile as ever 
we seemed to war with Spain under President Mc- 
Kinley. Therefore, when war threatens, prepara- 
tions must be made in any event ; for the evil of 
what proves to be the needless expenditure of 
money in one instance is not to be weighed for a 
moment against the failure to prepare in the other. 

i84 The Strenuous Life 

But only a limited number of men have the moral 
courage to make these preparations, because there 
is always risk to the individual making them. 
Laws and regulations must be stretched when an 
emergency arises, and yet there is always some dan- 
ger to the person who stretches them ; and, more- 
over in time of sudden need, some indispensable 
article can very possibly only be obtained at an 
altogether exorbitant price. If war comes, and the 
article, whether it be a cargo of coal, or a collier, 
or an auxiliary naval vessel, proves its usefulness, 
no complaint is ever made. But if the war does not 
come, then some small demagogue, some cheap 
economist, or some imdersized superior who is 
afraid of taking the responsibility himself, may 
blame the man who bought the article and say that 
he exceeded his authority; that he showed more 
zeal than discretion in not waiting for a few days, 
etc. These are the risks which must be taken, and 
the men who take them should be singled out for 
reward and for duty. Admiral Dewey's whole 
action in connection with the question of coal sup- 
ply for our fleet during the Chilean scare marked 
him as one of these men. 

No one who has not some knowledge of the 
army and navy will appreciate how much this 
means. It is necessary to have a complete system 
of checks upon the actions, and especially upon the 
expenditures, of the army and navy; but the 

Admiral Dewey 185 

present system is at times altogether too complete, 
especially in war. The efficiency of the quarter- 
masters and commissary officers of the army in 
the war with Spain was very seriously marred by 
their perfectly justifiable fear that the slightest 
departure from the requirements of the red-tape 
regulations of peace would result in the docking 
of their own pay by men more concerned in en- 
forcing the letter of the law than in seeing the 
army clothed and fed. In the navy, before the 
passage of the Personnel Bill, a positive premium 
was put on a man's doing nothing but keep out 
of trouble ; for if only he could avoid a court mar- 
tial, his promotions would take care of themselves, 
so that from the selfish standpoint no possible 
good could come to him from taking riste, while 
they might cause him very great harm. The best 
officers in the service recognized the menace that 
this state of affairs meant to the service, and strove 
to counterbalance it in every way. No small part 
of the good done by the admirable War College, 
under Captains Mahan, Taylor, and Goodrich, lay 
in their insistence upon the need of the naval 
officer's instantly accepting responsibility in any 
crisis, and doing what was best for the flag, even 
though it was probable the action might be dis- 
avowed by his immediate superiors, and though 
it might result in his own personal inconvenience 
and detriment. This was taught not merely as an 

i86 The Strenuous Life 

abstract theory, but with direct reference to con- 
crete cases ; for instance, with reference to taking 
possession of Hawaii, if a revolution should by 
chance break out there during the presence of an 
American warship, or if the warship of a foreign 
power attempted to interfere with the affairs of 
the island. 

For the work which Dewey had to do willing- 
ness to accept responsibility was a prime reqtiisite. 
A man afraid to vary in times of emergency from 
the regulations laid down in time of peace would 
never even have got the coal with which to steam 
to Manila from Hongkong the instant the crisis 
came. We were peculiarly fortunate in our Secre- 
tary of the Navy, Mr. Long ; but the best secretary 
that ever held the navy portfolio could not suc- 
cessfully direct operations on the other side of the 
world. All that he could do was to choose a good 
man, give him the largest possible liberty of action, 
and back him up in every way ; and this Secretary 
Long did. But if the man chosen had been timid 
about taking risks, nothing that could be done for 
him would have availed. Such a man would not 
have disobeyed orders. The danger would have 
been of precisely the contrary character. He 
would scrupulously have done just whatever he 
was told to do, and then would have sat down and 
waited for further instructions, so as to protect 
himself if something happened to go wrong. An 

Admiral Dcwcy 187 

infinity of excuses can always be found for non- 

Admiral Dewey was sent to command the fleet 
on the Asiatic station primarily because he had 
such a record in the past that the best officers in 
in the navy believed him to be peculiarly a man 
of the fighting temperament and fit to meet emer- 
gencies, and because he had shown his willingness 
to asstmie heavy responsibilities. How amply he 
justified his choice it is not necessary to say. On 
our roll of naval heroes his name will stand second 
to that of Farragut alone, and no man since the 
Civil War, whether soldier or civilian, has added 
so much to the honorable renown of the nation or 
has deserved so well of it. For our own sakes, and 
in particular for the sake of any naval officer who 
in the future may be called upon to do such a piece 
of work as Dewey did, let us keep in mind the 
further fact that he could not have accomplished 
his feat if he had not had first-class vessels and 
excellently trained men ; if his warships had not 
been so good, and his captains and crews such 
thorough masters of their art. A man of less 
daring coiuage than Dewey would never have 
done what he did ; but the coiuage itself was not 
enough. The Spaniards, too, had coiuage. What 
they lacked was energy, training, forethought. 
They fought their vessels until they burned or 
sank; but their gunnery was so poor that they 

i88 The Strenuous Life 

did not kill a man in the American fleet. Even 
Dewey's splendid capacity would not have enabled 
him to win the battle of Manila Bay had it not 
been for the traditional energy and seamanship 
of otir naval service, so well illustrated in his cap- 
tains, and the excellent gun practice of the crews, 
the result of years of steady training. Further- 
more, even this excellence in the personnel would 
not have availed if under a succession of secre- 
taries of the navy, and through the wisdom of a 
succession of Congresses, the material of the navy 
had not been built up as it actually was. 

If war with Spain had broken out fifteen years 
before it did, — ^that is, in the year 1883, before 
our new navy was built, — it would have been 
physically impossible to get the results we actually 
did get. At that time our navy consisted of a 
collection of rusty monitors and antiquated 
wooden ships left over from the Civil War, which 
could not possibly have been matched against 
even the navy of Spain. Every proposal to in- 
crease the navy was then violently opposed with 
exactly the same argtmients used nowadays by 
the men who oppose building up our army. The 
congressmen who rallied to the support of Senator 
Gorman in his refusal to furnish an adequate army 
to take care of the Philippines and meet the new 
national needs, or who defeated the proposition 
to buy armor-plate for the new ships, assimied pre- 

Admiral Dewey 189 

dsdy the ground that was taken by the men who, 
prior to 1883, had succeeded in preventing the 
rebuilding of the navy. Both alike did all they 
could to prevent the upholding of the national 
honor in times of emergency. There were the 
usual arguments: that we were a great peaceftd 
people, and would never have to go to war; that 
if we had a navy or army we should be tempted 
to use it and therefore embark on a career of mili- 
tary conquest ; that there was no need of regulars 
anyhow, because we could always raise volunteers 
to do anjrthing ; that war was a barbarous method 
of settling disputes, and too expensive to tmder- 
take even to avoid national disgrace, and so on. 

But fortunately the men of sturdy common 
sense and sound patriotism proved victors, and 
the new navy was begun. Its upbuilding was not 
a party matter. The first ships were laid down 
under Secretary Chandler; Secretary Whitney 
continued the work; Secretary Tracy carried it 
still further; so did Secretary Herbert, and then 
Secretary Long. Congress after Congress voted 
the necessary money. We have never had as 
many ships as a nation of such size and such vast 
interests really needs ; but still by degrees we have 
acquired a small fleet of battleships, cruisers, gun- 
boats, and torpedo-boats, all excellent of their 
class. The squadron with which Dewey entered 
Manila Bay included ships laid down or launched 

190 The Strenuous Life 

under Secretaries Chandler, Whitney, Tracy, and 
Herbert; and all four of these secretaries, their 
naval architects, the chiefs of bureaus, the young 
engineers and constructors, the outside contract- 
ors, the shipjrard men like Roach, Cramp, and 
Scott, and, finally and emphatically, the congress- 
men who during these fifteen years voted the 
supplies, are entitled to take a just pride in their 
share of the glory of the achievement. Every 
man in Congress whose vote made possible the 
building of the Raleigh, the Olympia, the Detroit^ 
or the putting aboard them and their sister ships 
the modem eight-inch or rapid-fire five-inch guns, 
or the giving them the best engines and the means 
wherewith to practise their crews at the targets — 
every such man has the right to tell his children 
that he did his part in securing Dewey's victory, 
and that, save for the action of him and his fellows, 
it could not have been won. This is no less true 
of the man who planned the ships and of the other 
men, whether in the government service or in 
private employment, who built them, from the 
head of the great business concern which put up 
an armor-plate factory down to the iron-worker 
who conscientiously and skilftdly did his part on 
gun-shield or gun. 

So much for the men who furnished the material 
and the means for assembling and practising the 
personnel. The same praise must be given the 

Admiral Dewey 191 

men who actually drilled the personnel, part of 
which Dewey used. If our ships had merely been 
built and then laid up, if officers and crews had not 
been exercised season after season in all weathers 
on the high seas in handling their ships both sepa- 
rately and in squadron, and in practising with the 
guns, all the excellent material would have availed 
us little. Exactly as it is of no use to give an 
army the best arms and equipment if it is not also 
given the chance to practise with its arms and 
equipment, so the finest ships and the best natural 
sailors and fighters are useless to a navy if the 
most ample opportunity for training is not allowed. 
Only incessant practice will make a good gunner; 
though, inasmuch as there are natural marksmen 
as well as men who never can become good marks- 
men, there should always be the widest intelli- 
gence displayed in the choice of gunners. Not 
only is it impossible for a man to learn how to 
handle a ship or do his duty aboard her save by 
long cruises at sea, but it is also impossible for a 
a good single-ship captain to be an efficient unit 
in a fleet imless he is accustomed to maneuver as 
part of a fleet. 

It is particularly true of the naval service that 
the excellence of any portion of it in a given crisis 
will depend mainly upon the excellence of the 
whole body, and so the triumph of any part is 
legitimately felt to reflect honor upon the whole 

i9t The Strenuous Life 

and to have beai participated in by every one. 
Dewey's captains could not have followed him 
with the precision they displayed, could not have 
shown the excellent gun practice they did show — 
in short, the victory would not have been possible 
had it not been for the unwearied training and 
practice given the navy during the dozen years 
previous by the admirals, the captains, and the 
crews who incessantly and in all weathers kept 
their vessels exercised, singly and in squadron, 
until the men on the bridge, the men in the gun- 
turrets, and the men in the engine-rooms knew 
how to do their work perfectly, alone or together. 
Every officer and man, from the highest to the 
lowest, who did his full duty in raising the navy to 
the standard of efficiency it had reached on May i, 
1898, is entitled to feel some personal share in the 
glory won by Dewey and Dewey's men. It would 
have been absolutely impossible not merely to 
improvise either the material or the personnel 
with which Dewey fought, but to have produced 
them in any limited ntunber of years. A thor- 
oughly good navy takes a long time to build up, 
and the best officer embodies always the traditions 
of a first-class service. Ships take years to build, 
crews take years before they become thoroughly 
expert, while the officers not only have to pass 
their early youth in a course of special training, 
but cannot possibly rise to supreme excellence in 

Admiral Dewey 193 

their profession tinless they make it their life-work. 
We shotild therefore keep in mind that the hero 
cannot win save for the forethought, energy, 
courage, and capacity of countless other men. 
Yet we must keep in mind also that all this fore- 
thought, energy, courage, and capacity will be 
wasted unless at the supreme moment some man 
of the heroic type arises capable of using to the 
best advantage the powers lying ready to hand. 
Whether it is Nelson, the greatest of all admirals, 
at Abukir, Copenhagen, or Trafalgar ; or Farragut, 
second only to Nelson, at New Orleans or Mobile ; 
or Dewey at Manila— the great occasion must meet 
with the great man, or the result will be at worst a 
failure, at best an indecisive success. The nation 
must make ready the tools and train the men to 
use them, but at the crisis a great triumph can be 
achieved only should some heroic man appear. 
Therefore it is right and seemly to pay homage 
of deep respect and admiration to the man when 
he does appear. 

Admiral Dewey performed one of the great feats 
of all time. At the very outset of the Spanish war 
he struck one of the two decisive blows which 
brought the war to a conclusion, and as his was the 
first fight, his success exercised an incalculable 
effect upon the whole conflict. He set the note 
of the war. He had carefully prepared for action 
during the months he was on the Asiatic coast. 


194 The Strenuous Life 

He had his plans thoroughly matured, and he 
struck the instant that war was declared. There 
was no delay, no hesitation. As soon as news 
came that he was to move, his war-steamers 
turned their bows toward Manila Bay. There was 
nothing to show whether or not Spanish mines and 
forts would be efficient ; but Dewey, cautious as 
he was at the right time, had not a particle of fear 
of taking risks when the need arose. In the tropic 
night he steamed past the forts, and then on over 
the mines to where the Spanish vessels lay. What 
material inferiority there was on the Spanish side 
was nearly made up by the forts and mines. The 
overwhelming difference was moral, not material. 
It was the difference in the two commanders, in 
the officers and crews of the two fleets, and in the 
naval service, afloat and ashore, of the two nations. 
On the one side there had been thorough prepara- 
tion ; on the other, none that was adequate. It 
would be idle to recapitulate the results. Steam- 
ing in with cool steadiness, Dewey's fleet cut the 
Spaniards to pieces, while the Americans were 
practically unhurt. Then Dewey drew off to 
breakfast, satisfied himself that he had enough 
ammimition, and returned to stamp out what 
embers of resistance were still feebly smoldering. 

The victory instn-ed the fall of the Philippines, 
for Manila surrendered as soon as owr land forces 
arrived and were in position to press their attack 

Admiral Dewey 


home. The work, however, was by no means 
done, and Dewey's diplomacy and firmness were 
given fiall scope for the year he remained in Manila 
waters, not only in dealing with Spaniards and 
insurgents, but in making it evident that we would 
tolerate no interference from any hostile European 
power. It is not yet the time to show how much 
he did in this last respect. Suffice it to say that by 
his firmness he effectually frustrated any attempt 
to interfere with otn- rights, while by his tact he 
avoided giving needless offense, and he acted in 
hearty accord with owe cordial well-wishers, the 
English naval and diplomatic representatives in 
the islands. 

Admiral Dewey comes back to his native land 
having won the right to a greeting such as has been 
given to no other man since the Civil War. 


Speech Delivered at Galena, Illinois, 
April a7» zgoo 




IN the long run every great nation instinctively 
recognizes the men who peculiarly and pre- 
eminently represent its own type of great- 
ness. Here in otir country we have had many 
public men of high rank — soldiers, orators, con- 
structive statesmen, and popular leaders. We 
have even had great philosophers who were also 
leaders of popular thought. Each one of these 
men has had his own group of devoted followers, 
and some of them have at times swayed the 
nation with a power such as the foremost of all 
hardly wielded. Yet as the generations slip 
away, as the dust of conflict settles, and as through 
the clearing air we look back with keener wisdom 
into the nation's past, mightiest among the mighty 
dead loom the three great figures of Washington, 
Lincoln, and Grant. There are great men also 
in the second rank ; for in any gallery of merely 
national heroes Franklin and Hamilton, Jefferson 
and Jackson, would surely have their place. But 
these three greatest men have taken their place 
among the great men of all nations, the great men 
of all time. They stood supreme in the two great 
crises of otir history, on the two great occasions 

200 The Strenuous Life 

when we stood in the van of all humanity and 
struck the most effective blows that have ever 
been struck for the cause of htmian freedom tmder 
the law, for that spirit of orderly liberty which 
mtist stand at the base of every wise movement 
to secure to each man his rights, and to guard 
each from being wronged by his fellows. 

Washington fought in the earlier struggle, and 
it was his good f orttme to win the highest renown 
alike as soldier and statesman. In the second 
and even greater struggle the deeds of Lincoln 
the statesman were made good by those of Grant 
the soldier, and later Grant himself took up the 
work that dropped from Lincoln's tired hands 
when the assassin's bullet went home, and the 
sad, patient, kindly eyes were closed forever. 

It was no mere accident that made our three 
mightiest men, two of them soldiers, and one the 
great war President. It is only through work and 
strife that either nation or individual moves on to 
greatness. The great man is always the man of 
mighty effort, and usually the man whom grindmg 
need has trained to mighty effort. Rest and 
peace are good things, are great blessings, but 
only if they come honorably ; and it is those who 
fearlessly ttmi away from them, when they have 
not been earned, who in the long run deserve best 
of their cotmtry. In the sweat of our brows do 
we eat bread, and though the sweat is bitter at 

Vlys^ S. Grant. 



Grant wx 

times, yet it is far more bitter to eat the bread 
that is unearned, tmwon, tmdeserved. America 
must nerve herself for labor and peril. The men 
who have made our natioitkl greatness are those 
who faced danger and overcame it, who met diflB- 
culties and surmoimted them, not those whose 
lines were cast in such pleasant places that t. ii 
and dread were ever far from them. 

Neither was it an accident that otir three 
leaders were men who, while they did not shrink 
from war, were nevertheless heartily men of 
peace. The man who will not fight to avert 
or undo wrong is but a poor creature ; but, after 
all, he is less dangerous than the man who fights 
on the side of wrong. Again and again in a 
nation's history the time may, and indeed some- 
times must, come when the nation's highest duty 
is war. But peace must be the normal condition, 
or the nation will come to a bloody doom. Twice 
in great crises, in 1776 and 1861, and twice in 
lesser crises, in 181 2 and 1898, the nation was 
called to arms in the name of all that makes the 
words "honor," "freedom," and "justice" other 
than empty sotmds. On each occasion the net 
result of the war was greatly for the benefit of 
mankind. But on each occasion this net result 
was of benefit only because after the war came 
peace, came justice and order and liberty. K the 
Revolution had been followed by bloody anarchy* 

2oi The Strenuous Life 

if the Declaration of Independence had not been 
supplemented by the adoption of the Constitution, 
if the freedom won by the sword of Washington 
had not been supplemented by the stable and 
orderly government which Washington was instru- 
mental in fottnding, then we should have but 
added to the chaos of the world, and our victories 
would have told against and not for the betterment 
of mankind. So it was with the Civil War. If 
the four iron years had not been followed by 
peace, they would not have been justified. If the 
great silent soldier, the Hammer of the North, had 
struck the shackles off the slave only, as so many 
conquerors in civil strife before him had done, to 
rivet them around the wrists of freemen, then the 
war would have been fought in vain, and worse 
than in vain. If the Union, which so many men 
shed their blood to restore, were not now a imion 
in fact, then the precious blood would have been 
wasted. But it was not wasted ; for the work of 
peace has made good the work of war, and North 
and South, East and West, we are now one people 
in fact as well as in name; one in purpose, in 
fellow-feeling, and in high resolve, as we stand 
to greet the new century, and, high of heart, to 
face the mighty tasks which the coming years will 
stirely bring. 

Grant and his fellow-soldiers who fought 
through the war, and his fellow-statesmen who 

Grant 203 

completed the work partly done by the soldiers, 
not only left tis the heritage of a reunited country 
and of a land from which slavery had been ban- 
ished, but left us what was quite as important, 
the great memory of their great deeds, to serve 
forever as an example and an inspiration, to spur 
tis on so that we may not fall below the level 
reached by our fathers. The rough, strong poet 
of democracy has sung of Grant as " the man of 
mighty days, and equal to the days." The days 
are less mighty now, and that is all the more 
reason why we should show ourselves equal to 
them. We meet here to pay glad homage to the 
memory of our iUtistrious dead; but let us keep 
ever clear before our minds the fact that mere 
lip-loyalty is no loyalty at all, and that the only 
homage that coimts is the homage of deeds, not 
of words. It is but an idle waste of time to 
celebrate the memory of the dead tmless we, the 
living, in our lives strive to show ourselves not 
unworthy of them. If the careers of Washington 
and Grant are not vital and full of meaning to us, 
if they are merely part of the storied past, and stir 
us to no eager emulation in the ceaseless, endless 
war for right against wrong, then the root of right 
thinking is not in us ; and where we do not think 
right we cannot act right. 

It is not my ptupose in this address to sketch, 
in even the briefest manner, the life and deeds of 

204 The Strenuous Life 

Grant. It is not even my purpose to touch on 
the points where his influence has told so tre- 
mendously in the making of our history. It is 
part of the man's greatness that now we can use 
his career purely for illustration. We can take 
for granted the fact that each American who 
knows the history of the coimtry mtist know the 
history of this man, at least in its broad outline; 
and that we no more need to explain Vicksbtirg 
and Appomattox than we need to explain York- 
town. I shall ask attention, not to Grant's life, 
but to the lessons taught by that life as we of 
to-day should leam them. 

Foremost of all is the lesson of tenacity, of 
stubborn fixity of purpose. In the Union armies 
there were generals as brilliant as Grant, but none 
with his iron determination. This quality he 
showed as President no less than as general. He 
was no more to be influenced by a hostile majority 
in Congress into abandoning his attitude in favor 
of a sotind and stable currency than he was to be 
influenced by check or repulse into releasing his 
grip on beleaguered Richmond. It is this element 
of imshakable strength to which we are apt 
specially to refer when we praise a man in the 
simplest and most effective way, by praising him 
as a man. It is the one quality which we can 
least afford to lose. It is the only quality the 
lack of which is as tmpardonable in the nation as 

Grant 105 

in the man. It is the antithesis of levity, fickle- 
ness, volatiUty, of undue exaltation, of undue 
depression, of hysteria and neuroticism in all 
their myriad forms. The lesson of imyielding, 
unflinching, imfaltering perseverance in the course 
upon which the nation has entered is one very 
necessary for a generation whose preachers some- 
times dwell overmuch on the policies of the 
moment. There are not a few public men, not a 
few men who try to mold opinion within G^ngress 
and without, on the stump and in the daily press, 
who seem to aim at instability, who pander to and 
thereby increase the thirst for overstatement of 
each situation as it arises, whose effort is, accord- 
ingly, to make the people move in zigzags instead 
of in a straight line. We all saw this in the 
Spanish war, when the very men who at one time 
branded as traitors everybody who said there was 
anything wrong in the army at another time 
branded as traitors everybody who said there was 
anything right. Of course such an attitude is as 
uiJiealthy on one side as on the other, and it is 
equally destructive of any effort to do away with 

Hysterics of this kind may have all the re- 
sults of extreme timidity. A nation that has not 
the power of endurance, the power of dogged 
insistence on a determined policy, come weal 
or woe, has lost one chief element of greatness. 

2o6 The Strenuous Life 

The people who wish to abandon the Philippines 
because we have had heavy skirmishing out there, 
or who think that our rule is a failure whenever 
they discover some sporadic upgrowth of evil, 
would do well to remember the two long years of 
disaster this nation suffered before the July morn- 
ing when the news was flashed to the waiting 
millions that Vicksburg had fallen in the West 
and that in the East the splendid soldiery of Lee 
had recoiled at last from the low hills of Gettys- 
btirg. Even after this nearly two years more 
were to pass before the end came at Appomattox. 
Throughout this time the cry of the prophets of 
disaster never ceased. The peace-at-any-price 
men never wearied of declaiming against the war, 
of describing the evils of conquest and subjuga- 
tion as worse than any possible benefits that 
could result therefrom. The hysterical minority 
passed alternately from imreasoning confidence 
to imreasoning despair; and at times they even 
infected for the moment many of their sober, 
steady coimtrymen. Eighteen months after the 
war began the state and congressional elections 
went heavily against the war party, and two 
years later the opposition party actually waged 
the Presidential campaign on the issue that the 
war was a failure. Meanwhile there was plenty 
of bltmdering at the front, plenty of mistakes at 
Washington. The cotmtry was saved by the 

Grant 207 

fact that otir people, as a whole, were steadfast 
and unshaken. Both at Washington and at the 
front the leaders were men of undaunted reso- 
lution, who would not abandon the policy to 
which the nation was definitely committed, who 
regarded disaster as merely a spur to fresh effort, 
who saw in each blunder merely something to be 
retrieved, and not a reason for abandoning the 
long-determined course. Above all, the great 
mass of the people possessed a tough and stub- 
bom fiber of character. 

There was then, as always, ample xx>om for 
criticism, and there was every reason why the 
mistakes should be corrected. But in the long 
nm our gratitude was due primarily, not to the 
critics, not to the fault-finders, but to the men 
who actually did the work; not to the men of 
negative policy, but to those who struggled 
toward the given goal. Merciful oblivion has 
swallowed up the names of those who railed at 
the men who were saving the Union, while it 
has given us the memory of these same men as a 
heritage of honor forever; and brightest among 
their names flame those of Lincoln and Grant, 
the steadfast, the unswerving, the enduring, the 
finally triiunphant. 

Grant's supreme virtue as a soldier was his 
doggedness, the quality which foimd expression 
in his famotis phrases of " tmconditional sur- 

ao8 The Strenuous Life 

tender" and "fighting it out on this line if it 
takes all stimmer." He was a master of strategy 
and tactics, but he was also a master of hard 
hitting, of that "continuous hammering" which 
finally broke through even Lee's guard. While 
an armed foe was in the field, it never occurred to 
Grant that any question cotdd be so important 
as his overthrow. He felt nothing but impatient 
contempt for the weak souls who wished to hold 
parley with the enemy while that enemy was still 
capable of resistance. 

There is a fine lesson in this to the people who 
have been asking us to invite the certain destruc- 
tion of our power in the Philippines, and therefore 
the certain destruction of the islands themselves, 
by putting any concession on our part ahead of 
the duty of reducing the islands to quiet at all 
costs and of stamping out the last embers of 
armed resistance. At the time of the Civil War 
the only way to secure peace was to fight for it, 
and it wotdd have been a crime against hiunanity 
to have stopped fighting before peace was con- 
quered. So in the far less important, but still 
very important, crisis which confronts us to-day, 
it would be a crime against humanity if, whether 
from weakness or from mistaken sentimentalism, 
we failed to perceive that in the Philippines the 
all-important duty is to restore order; because 
peace, and the gradually increasing measxire of 

Grant S09 

self-government for the islands which will follow 
peace, can only come when armed resistance has 
completely vanished. 

Grant was no brawler, no lover of fighting for 
fighting's sake. He was a plain, quiet man, not 
seeking for glory ; but a man who, when aroused, 
was always in deadly earnest, and who never 
shrank from duty. He was slow to strike, but 
he never struck softly. He was not in the least 
of the type which gets up mass-meetings, makes 
inflanmiatory speeches or passes inflammatory 
resolutions, and then permits over-forcible talk 
to be followed by over-feeble action. His promise 
squared with his performance. His deeds made 
good his words. He did not denotmce an evil in 
strained and hyperbolic language; but when he 
did denotmce it, he strove to make his dentmcia- 
tion effective by his action. He did not plunge 
lightly into war, but once in, he saw the war 
through, and when it was over, it was over 
entirely. Unsparing in battle, he was very merci- 
ftil in victory. There was no let-up in his grim 
attack, his grim pursuit, xmtil the last body of 
armed foes surrendered. But that feat once ac- 
compUshed, his first thought was for the valiant 
defeated; to let them take back their horses to 
their little homes because they wotild need them 
to work on their farms. Grant, the champion 
whose sword was sharpest in the great fight for 

2XO The Strenuous Life 

liberty, was no less sternly insistent upon the 
need of order and of obedience to law. No 
stouter foe of anarchy in every form ever lived 
within our borders. The man who more than any 
other, save Lincoln, had changed us into a nation 
whose citizens were all freemen, realized entirely 
that these freemen would remain free only while 
they kept mastery over their own evil passions. 
He saw that lawlessness in all its forms was the 
handmaiden of tyranny. No nation ever yet 
retained its freedom for any length of time after 
losing its respect for the law, after losing the law- 
abiding spirit, the spirit that really makes orderly 

Grant, in short, stood for the great elementary 
virtues, for justice, for freedom, for order, for 
unyielding resolution, for manliness in its broadest 
and highest sense. His greatness was not so much 
greatness of intellect as greatness of character, 
including in the word ** character" all the strong, 
virile virtues. It is character that counts in a 
nation as in a man. It is a good thing to have 
a keen, fine intellectual development in a nation, 
to produce orators, artists, successful business 
men ; but it is an infinitely greater thing to have 
those solid qualities which we group together 
under the name of character — sobriety, steadfast- 
ness, the sense of obligation toward one's neighbor 
and one's God, hard common sense, and, com- 

Grant an 

bined with it, the lift of generous enthusiasm 
toward whatever is right. These are the qualities 
which go to make up true national greatness, and 
these were the qualities which Grant possessed in 
an eminent degree. 

We have come here, then, to realize what the 
mighty dead did for the nation, what the dead 
did for us who are now living. Let us in retiun 
try to shape our deeds so that the America of the 
future shall justify by her career the lives of the 
great men of her past. Every man who does his 
duty as a soldier, as a statesman, or as a private 
citizen is paying to Grant's memory the kind of 
homage that is best worth paying. We have 
difficulties and dangers enough in the present, 
and it is the way we face them which is to deter- 
mine whether or not we are fit descendants of the 
men of the mighty past. We must not flinch 
from our duties abroad merely because we have 
even more important duties at home. That these 
home duties are the most important of all every 
thinking man will freely acknowledge. We must 
do our duty to ourselves and our brethren in the 
complex social life of the time. We must possess 
the spirit of broad humanity, deep charity, and 
loving-kindness for our fellow-men, and must 
remember, at the same time, that this spirit is 
really the absolute antithesis of mere sentimen- 
talism, of soup-kitchen, pauperizing philanthropy. 

8X2 The Strenuous Life 

and of legislation which is inspired either by foolish 
mock benevolence or by class greed or class hate. 
We need to be possessed of the spirit of justice 
and of the spirit which recognizes in work and 
not ease the proper end of effort. 

Of course the all-important thing to keep in 
mind is that if we have not both strength and 
virtue we shall fail. Indeed, in the old accepta- 
tion of the word, virtue included strength and 
courage, for the clear-sighted men at the dawn 
of our era knew that the passive virtues could not 
by themselves avail, that wisdom without courage 
would sink into mere cimning, and courage with- 
out morality into ruthless, lawless, self -destructive 
ferocity. The iron Roman made himself lord of 
the world because to the courage of the barbarian 
he opposed a courage as fierce and an infinitely 
keener mind ; while his civilized rivals, the keen- 
witted Greek and Carthaginian, though of even 
finer intellect, had let corruption eat into their 
brilliant civilizations tmtil their strength had been 
corroded as if by acid. In short, the Roman had 
character as well as masterftil genius, and when 
pitted against peoples either of less genius or of 
less character, these peoples went down. 

As the ages roll by, the eternal problem forever 
fronting each man and each race forever shifts its 
outward shape, and yet at the bottom it is always 
the same. There are dangers of peace and 



dangers of war; dangers of excess in militarism 
and of excess by the avoidance of duty that 
implies militarism; dangers of slow dry-rot, and 
dangers which become acute only in great crises. 
When these crises come, the nation will triumph 
or sink accordingly as it produces or fails to 
produce statesmen like Lincoln and soldiers like 
Grant, and accordingly as it does or does not 
back them in their efforts. We do not need men 
of tmsteady brilliancy or erratic power — ^unbal- 
anced men. The men we need are the men of 
strong, earnest, solid character — ^the men who 
possess the homely virtues, and who to these 
virtues add rugged courage, rugged honesty, and 
high resolve. Grant, with his self -poise, his self- 
command, his self-mastery; Grant, who loved 
peace and did not fear war, who wotild not draw 
the sword if he could honorably keep it sheathed, 
but who, when once he had drawn it, wotild not 
return it to the sheath until the weary years had 
brought the blood-won victory ; Grant, who had 
no thought after the fight was won save of leading 
the life led by other Americans, and who aspired 
to the Presidency only as Zachary Taylor or 
Andrew Jackson had aspired to it — Grant was of 
a type upon which the men of to-day can well 
affoid to model themselves. 

As I have already said, our first duty, otar most 
important work, is setting our own house in order. 

2X4 The Strenuous Life 

We must be true to ourselves, or else, in the long 
run, we shall be false to all others. The republic 
cannot stand if honesty and decency do not pre- 
vail alike in public and private life ; if we do not set 
ourselves seriously at work to solve the tremen- 
dous social problems forced upon us by the far- 
sweeping industrial changes of the last two genera- 
tions. But in considering the life of Grant it is pe- 
culiariy appropriate to remember that, besides the 
regeneration in political and social life within our 
own borders, we must also face what has come 
upon us from without. No friendliness with other 
nations, no good will for them or by them, can 
take the place of national self-reliance. No alli- 
ance, no inoffensive conduct on our part, wotild 
supply, in time of need, the failure in ability to 
hold our own with the strong hand. We must 
work out our own destiny by our own strength. 
A vigorous young nation like otirs does not always 
stand still. Now and then there comes a time when 
it is sure either to shrink or to expand. Grant 
saw to it that we did not shrink, and therefore we 
had to expand when the inevitable moment came. 
Great duties face us in the islands where the 
Stars and Stripes now float in place of the arro- 
gant flag of Spain. As we perform those duties 
well or ill, so will we, in large part, determine our 
right to a place among the great nations of the 
earth. We have got to meet them in the very 

Grant ^215 

spirit of Grant. If we are frightened at the task, 
above all, if we are cowed or disheartened by any 
check, or by the clamor of the sensation-monger, 
we shall show ourselves weaklings unfit to invoke 
the memories of the stalwart men who fought to 
a finish the great Civil War. If we do not rule 
wisely, and if our rule is not in the interest of the 
peoples who have come under our guardianship, 
then we had best never to have begun the effort 
at all. As a nation we shall have to choose our 
representatives in these islands as carefully as 
Grant chose the generals who were to serve at 
the vital points under him. Fortimately, so far 
the choice has been most wise. No nation has 
ever sent a better man than we sent to Cuba when 
President McKinley appointed as governor-general 
of that island Leonard Wood ; and now, in sending 
Judge Taft at the head of the commission to the 
Philippines, the President has again chosen the 
very best man to be found in all the United States 
for the purpose in view. 

Part of Grant's great strength lay in the fact 
that he faced facts as they were, and not as he 
wished they might be. He was not originally an 
abolitionist, and he probably could not originally 
have defined his views as to State sovereignty ; 
but when the Civil War was on, he saw that the 
only thing to do was to fight it to a finish and 
establish by force of arms the constitutional right 

ai6 The Strenuous Life 

to put down rebellion. It is jiist the same thing 
nowadays with expansion. It has come, and it 
has come to stay, whether we wish it or not. 
Certain duties have fallen to us as a legacy of the 
war with Spain, and we cannot avoid performing 
them. All we can decide is whether we will 
perform them well or ill. We cannot leave the 
Philippines. We have got to stay there, estab- 
lish order, and then give the inhabitants as much 
self-government as they show they can use to 
advantage. We cannot run away if we would. 
We have got to see the work through, because 
we are not a nation of weaklings. We are strong 
men, and we intend to do our duty. 

To do our duty — that is the stim and substance 
of the whole matter. We are not trying to win 
glory. We are not trying to do anything espe- 
cially brilliant or unusual. We are setting our- 
selves vigorously at each task as the task arises, 
and we are trying to face each difficulty as Grant 
faced inntimerable and infinitely greater diffi- 
culties. The sure way to succeed is to set about 
our work in the spirit that marked the great 
soldier whose life we this day celebrate: the 
spirit of devotion to duty, of determination to 
deal fairiy, justly, and feariessly with all men, 
and of iron resolution never to abandon any task 
once begun xmtil it has been brought to a suc- 
cessful and tritunphant conclusion. 


Speech at the Formal Opening op the Pan-American 
£xposiTiON| BuffalOi May 20, 1901 




TO-DAY we formally open this great exposi- 
tion by the shores of the mighty inland 
seas of the North, where all the peoples of 
the western hemisphere have joined to show 
what they have done in art, science, and indus- 
trial invention, what they have been able to 
accomplish with their manifold resources and 
their infinitely varied individual and national 
qualities. Such an exposition, held at the open- 
ing of this new century, inevitably suggests two 
trains of thought. It should make us think 
seriously and solemnly of our several duties to 
one another as citizens of the different nations of 
this western hemisphere, and also of our duties 
each to the nation to which he personally belongs. 
The century upon which we have just entered 
must inevitably be one of tremendous tritimph 
or of tremendous failure for the whole human 
race, because, to an infinitely greater extent than 
ever before, humanity is knit together in all its 
parts, for weal or woe. All about us there are 
inntimerable tendencies that tell for good, and 
inntimerable tendencies that tell for evil. It is, 
of course, a mere truism to say that our own acts 
must determine which set of tendencies shall over- 


220 The Strenuous Life 

come the other. In order to act wisely we must 
first see clearly. There is no place among us for 
the mere pessimist ; no man who looks at life with 
a vision that sees all things black or gray can do 
aught healthful in molding the destiny of a 
mighty and vigorous people. But there is just 
as little use for the f ooUsh optimist who refuses 
to face the many and real evils that exist, and 
who fails to see that the only way to instu^ the 
tritimph of righteousness in the futtu^ is to war 
against all that is base, weak, and tmlovely in 
the present. 

There are certain things so obvious as to seem 
commonplace, which, nevertheless, must be kept 
constantly before us if we are to preserve our 
just sense of proportion. This twentieth centtuy 
is big with the fate of the nations of mankind, 
because the fate of each is now interwoven with 
the fate of all to a degree never even approached 
in any previous stage of history. No better proof 
could be given than by this very exposition. A 
century ago no such exposition could have even 
been thought of. The larger part of the terri- 
tory represented here to-day by so many free 
nations was not even mapped, and very much 
of it was unknown to the hardiest explorer. The 
influence of America upon Old World affairs was 
imponderable. World politics still meant Euro- 
pean politics. 

The Two Americas sax 

All that is now changed, not merely by what 
has happened here in America, but by what has 
happened elsewhere. It is not necessary for us 
here to consider the giant changes which have 
come elsewhere in the globe; to treat of the rise 
in the South Seas of the great free common- 
wealths of Australia and New Zealand; of the 
way in which Japan has been rejuvenated and 
has advanced by leaps and botmds to a position 
among the leading civilized powers ; of the prob- 
lems, affecting the major portion of mankind, 
which call imperiously for solution in parts of the 
Old Worid which, a century ago, were barely 
known to Europe, even by rumor. Our present 
concern is not with the Old World, but with our 
own western hemisphere, America. We meet 
to-day, representing the people of this continent, 
from the Dominion of Canada in the north, to 
Chile and the Argentine in the south ; representing 
peoples who have traveled far and fast in the last 
century, because in them has been practically 
shown that it is the spirit of adventure which is 
the maker of commonwealths; peoples who are 
learning and striving to put in practice the vital 
truth that freedom is the necessary first step, but 
only the first step, in successful free government. 

During the last century we have on the whole 
made long strides in the right direction, but 
we have very much yet to learn. We all look 

222 The Strenuous Life 

forward to the day when there shall be a nearer 
approximation than there has ever yet been to 
the brotherhood of man and the peace of the 
world. More and more we are learning that to 
love one's country above all others is in no way 
incompatible with respecting and wishing well to 
all others, and that, as between man and man, 
so between nation and nation, there shotild live 
the great law of right. These are the goals toward 
which we strive; and let us at least earnestly 
endeavor to realize them here on this continent. 
From Hudson Bay to the Straits of Magellan, we, 
the men of the two Americas, have been con- 
quering the wilderness, carving it into state and 
province, and seeking to build up in state and 
province governments which shall combine indus- 
trial prosperity and moral well-being. Let us 
ever most vividly remember the falsity of the 
belief that any one of us is to be permanently 
benefited by the hurt of another. Let us strive 
to have our public men treat as axiomatic the 
truth that it is for the interest of every common- 
wealth in the western hemisphere to see every 
other commonwealth grow in riches and in happi- 
ness, in material wealth and in the sober, strong, 
self-respecting manliness, without which material 
wealth avails so little. 

To-day on behalf of the United States I welcome 
you here — you, our brothers of the North, and 

The Two Americas ms 

you, OUT brothers of the South ; we wish you well ; 
we wish you all prosperity; and we say to you 
that we earnestly hope for your well-being, not 
only for your own sakes, but also for our own, 
for it is a benefit to each of us to have the others 
do well. The relations between us now are those 
of cordial friendship, and it is to the interest of all 
alike that this friendship should ever remain 
unbroken. Nor is there the least chance of its 
being broken, provided only that all of us alike 
act with full recognition of the vital need that 
each should realize that his own interests can 
best be served by serving the interests of others. 

You, men of Canada, are doing substantially 
the same work that we of this republic are doing, 
and face substantially the same problems that we 
also face. Yours is the worid of the merchant, 
the manufacturer and mechanic, the farmer, the 
ranchman, and the miner; you are subduing the 
prairie and the forest, tilling farm-land, building 
cities, striving to raise ever higher the standard 
of right, to bring ever nearer the day when true 
justice shall obtain between man and man; and 
we wish Godspeed to you and yours, and may the 
kindliest ties of good will always exist between us. 

To you of the republics south of us, I wish to 
say a special word. I believe with all my heart 
in the Monroe Doctrine. This doctrine is not to 
be invoked for the aggrandizement of any one of 

M4 The Strenuous Life 

us here on this continent at the expense of any one 
else on this continent. It should be regarded 
yamply as a great international Pan-American 
\. policy, vital to the interests of all of us. The 
United States has, and ought to have, and must 
ever have, only the desire to see her sister com- 
monwealths in the western hemisphere continue 
to flourish, and the determination that no Old 
Worid power shall acquire new territory here on 
this western continent. We of the two Americas 
must be left to work out otu* own salvation along 
our own lines ; and if we are wise we will make it 
tmderstood as a cardinal feature of otu* joint 
foreign policy that, on the one hand, we will not 
submit to territorial aggrandizement on this con- 
tinent by any Old Worid power, and that, on the 
other hand, among ourselves each nation must 
scrupulously regard the rights and interests of 
the others, so that, instead of any one of us com- 
mitting the criminal folly of trying to rise at the 
expense of our neighbors, we shall all strive 
upward in honest and manly brotherhood, shoul- 
der to shoulder. 

A word now especially to my own fellow- 
countrymen. I think that we have all of us 
reason to be satisfied with the showing made in 
this exposition, as in the great expositions of the 
past, of the results of the enterprise, the shrewd 
daring, the business energy and capacity, and the 

The Two Americas 22$ 

artistic and, above all, the wonderftil mechanical 
skill and inventiveness of our people. In all of 
this we have legitimate cause to feel a noble 
pride, and a still nobler pride in the showing 
made of what we have done in such matters as 
our system of widespread popular education and 
in the field of philanthropy, especially in that 
best kind of philanthropy which teaches each 
man to help lift both himself and his neighbor 
by joining with that neighbor hand in hand in a 
common effort for the common good. 

But we should err greatly, we should err in the 
most fatal of ways, by wilful blindness to what- 
ever is not pleasant, if, while justly proud of our 
achievements, we failed to realize that we have 
plenty of shortcomings to remedy, that there are 
terrible problems before us, which we must work 
out right, under the gravest national penalties if 
we fail. It cannot be too often repeated that 
there is no patent device for securing good gov- 
ernment; that after all is said and done, after 
we have given full credit to every scheme for 
increasing our material prosperity, to every effort 
of the lawmaker to provide a system under which 
each man shall be best secured in his own rights, it 
yet remains true that the great factor in working 
out the success of this giant republic of the 
western continent must be the possession of those 
qualities of essential virtue and essential manliness 


226 The Strenuous Life 

which have built up every great and mighty peo- 
ple of the past, and the lack of which always 
has brought, and always will bring, the proudest 
of nations crashing down to ruin. Here in this 
exposition, on the stadium and on the pylons of 
the bridge, you have written certain sentences 
to which we all must subscribe, and to which 
we must live up if we are in any way or measure 
to do otu" duty: " Who shims the dust and sweat 
of the contest, on his brow falls not the cool 
shade of the olive," and ** A free state exists only 
in the virtue of the citizen." We all accept these 
statements in theory; but if we do not hve up 
to them in practice, then there is no health in us. 
Take the two together always. In our eager, 
restless life of effort, but little can be done by 
that cloistered virtue of which Milton spoke with 
such fine contempt. We need the rough, strong 
qualities that make a man fit to play his part well 
among men. Yet we need to remember even 
more that no ability, no strength and force, no 
power of intellect or power of wealth, shall avail 
us, if we have not the root of right living in us ; 
if we do not pay more than a mere lip-loyalty to 
the old, old commonplace virtues, which stand at 
the f otmdation of all social and political well-being. 
It is easy to say what we ought to do, but it is 
hard to do it ; and yet no scheme can be devised 
which will save us from the need of doing just 

The Two Americas 227 

this hard work. Not merely must each of us 
strive to do his duty; in addition it is impera- 
tively necessary also to establish a strong and 
intelligent public opinion which will require each 
to do his duty. If any man here falls short he 
should not only feel ashamed of himself, but in 
some way he ought also to be made conscious of 
the condemnation of his fellows, and this no 
matter what form his shortcoming takes. Doing 
our duty is, of course, incumbent on every one of 
us alike; yet the heaviest blame for dereliction 
should fall on the man who sins against the light, 
the man to whom much has been given, and from 
whom, therefore, we have a right to expect much 
in return. We should hold to a peculiarly rigid 
accountability those men who in public life, or 
as editors of great papers, or as owners of vast 
fortunes, or as leaders and molders of opinion in 
the pulpit, or on the platform, or at the bar, are 
guilty of wrong-doing, no matter what form that 
wrong-doing may take. 

In addition, however, to the problems which, 
under Protean shapes, are yet fundamentally the 
same for all nations and for all times, there are 
others which especially need our attention, 
because they are the especial productions of our 
present industrial civilization. The tremendous 
industrial development of the nineteenth centiuy 
has not only conferred great benefits upon us of 

228 The Strenuous Life 

the twentieth, but it has also exposed tis to grave 
dangers. This highly complex movement has had 
many sides, some good and some bad, and has 
produced an absolutely novel set of phenomena. 
To secure from them the best results will tax to the 
utmost the resources of the statesman, the econo- 
mist, and the social reformer. There has been 
an immense relative growth of urban population, 
and, in consequence, an immense growth of the 
body of wage-workers, together with an accumu- 
lation of enormous fortunes which more and more 
tend to express their power through great cor- 
porations that are themselves guided by some 
master mind of the business world. As a result, 
we are confronted by a formidable series of per- 
plexing problems, with which it is absolutely 
necessary to deal, and yet with which it is not 
merely useless, but in the highest degree unwise 
and dangerous to deal, save with wisdom, insight, 
and self-restraint. 

There are certain truths which are so conunon- 
place as to be axiomatic; and yet so important 
that we cannot keep them too vividly before our 
minds. The true welfare of the nation is indis- 
solubly botmd up with the welfare of the farmer 
and the wage-worker — of the man who tills the 
soil, and of the mechanic, the handicraftsman, 
the laborer. If we can insure the prosperity of 
these two classes we need not trouble oiirselves 

The Two Americas 229 

about the prosperity of the rest, for that will 
follow as a matter of course. 

On the other hand, it is equally true that the 
prosperity of any of us can best be attained by 
measures that will promote the prosperity of all. 
The poorest motto upon which an American can 
act is the motto of **some men down," and the 
safest to follow is that of "all men up." A good 
deal can and ought to be done by law. For 
instance, the State and, if necessary, the nation 
should by law assume ample power of supervising 
and regulating the acts of any corporation (which 
can be but its creattu-e), and generally of those 
immense business enterprises which exist only 
because of the safety and protection to property 
guaranteed by our system of government. Yet 
it is equally true that, while this power should 
exist, it should be used sparingly and with self- 
restraint. Modem industrial competition is very 
keen between nation and nation, and now that 
our country is striding forward with the pace of 
a giant to take the leading position in the inter- 
national industrial world, we should beware how 
we fetter our limbs, how we cramp our Titan 
strength. While striving to prevent industrial 
injustice at home, we must not bring upon our- 
selves industrial weakness abroad. This is a task 
for which we need the finest abilities of the states- 
man, the student, the patriot, and the far-seeing 

aso The Strenuous Life 

lover of mankind. It is a task in which we shall 
fail with absolute certainty if we approach it after 
having surrendered ourselves to the guidance of 
the demagogue, or the doctrinaire, of the well- 
meaning man who thinks feebly, or of the cunning 
self-seeker who endeavors to rise by committing 
that worst of crimes against our people — ^the 
crime of inflaming brother against brother, one 
American against his fellow-Americans. 

My fellow-countrymen, bad laws are evil things, 
good laws are necessary; and a clean, fearless, 
common-sense administration of the laws is even 
more necessary; but what we need most of all 
is to look to our own selves to see that our con- 
sciences as individuals, that our collective national 
conscience, may respond instantly to every appeal 
for high action, for lofty and generous endeavor. 
There must and shall be no falling off in the 
national traits of hardihood and manliness; and 
we must keep ever bright the love of justice, the 
spirit of strong brotherly friendship for one's 
fellows, which we hope and believe wUl hereafter 
stand as typical of the men who make up this, 
the mightiest republic upon which the sun has 
ever shone. 


Address at the Quarter-Centennial Celebration ov 

Statehood in Colorado, at Colorado Springs, 

August 2, igoz 




THIS anniversary, which marks the comple- 
tion by Colorado of her first quarter-cen- 
tury of statehood, is of interest not only to 
her sisters, the States of the Rocky Mountain 
region, but to our whole cotmtry. With the ex- 
ception of the admission to statehood of Calif omia, 
no other event emphasized in such dramatic fash- 
ion the full meaning of the growth of otir country 
as did the incoming of Colorado. 

It is a law of our intellectual development that 
the greatest and most important truths, when once 
we have become thoroughly familiar with them, 
often because of that very familiarity grow dim in 
our minds. The westward spread of our people 
across this continent has been so rapid, and so 
great has been their success in taming the rugged 
wilderness, turning the gray desert into green fer- 
tility, and filling the waste and lonely places with 
the eager, thronging, crowded life of our industrial 
civilization, that we have begun to accept it all as 
part of the orderof nattu-e. Moreover, it now seems 
to us equally a matter of course that when a suf- 
ficient ntunber of the citizens of our common coun- 
try have thus entered into and taken possession 


234 The Strenuous Life 

of some great tract of empty wildemess, they 
shoiild be permitted to enter the Union as a State 
on an absolute equality with the older States, 
having the same right both to manage their own 
local affairs as they deem best, and to exercise their 
full share of control over all the affairs of whatever 
kind or sort in which the nation is interested as a 
whole. The yotmgest and the oldest States stand 
on an exact level in one indissoluble and perpetual 

To us nowadays these processes seem so natural 
that it is only by a mental wrench that we con- 
ceive of any other as possible. Yet they are really 
wholly modem and of purely American develop- 
ment. When, a century before Colorado became 
a State, the original thirteen States began the great 
experiment of a free and independent republic on 
this continent, the processes which we now accept 
in such matter-of-course fashion were looked upon 

<as abnormal and revolutionary. It is our own suc- 
cess here in America that has brought about the 
complete alteration in feeling. The chief factor in 
producing the Revolution, and later in producing 
the War of 1812, was the inability of the mother- 
country to tmderstand that the freemen who went 
forth to conquer a continent should be encouraged 
in that work, and could not and ought not to be 
expected to toil only for the profit or glory of 
others. When the first Continental Congress 

Manhood and Statehood 235 

assembled, the British government, like every 
other government of Europe at that time, simply 
did not know how to look upon the general ques- 
tion of the progress of the colonies save from the 
standpoint of the people who had stayed at home. 
The spread of the hardy, venturesome backwoods- 
men was to most of the statesmen of London a 
matter of anxiety rather than of pride, and the 
famous Quebec Act of 1774 was in part designed 
with the purpose of keeping the English-speaking 
settlements permanently east of the Alleghanies, 
and preserving the mighty and beautiful valley 
of the Ohio as a hunting-grotmd for savages, a 
preserve for the great fur-trading companies ; and 
as late as 181 2 this project was partially revived. 

More extraordinary still, even after independ- 
ence was achieved, and a firm Union accom- 
plished under that wonderful document, the Con- 
stitution adopted in 1789, we still see traces of 
the same feeling lingering here and there in our 
own cotmtry. There were plenty of men in the 
seaboard States who looked with what seems to 
us ludicrous apprehension at the steady westward 
growth of our people. Grave senators and repre- 
sentatives expressed dire foreboding as to the ruin 
which would result from admitting the communi- 
ties growing up along the Ohio to a full equality 
with the older States; and when Louisiana was 
given statehood, they insisted that that very fact 

336 The Strenuous Life 

dissolved the Union . When our people had begun 
to settle in the Mississippi valley, Jefferson himself 
accepted with eqiianiniity the view that probably 
it would not be possible to keep regions so infi- 
nitely remote as the Mississippi and the Atlantic 
coast in the same Union. Later even such a 
stanch Union man and firm believer in Western 
g^o^vth as fearless old Tom Benton of Missoiiri 
thought that it would be folly to try to extend the 
national limits westward of the Rocky Motmtains. 
In 1830 our then best-known man of letters and 
historian, Washington Irving, prophesied that for 
ages to come the country upon which we now 
stand would be inhabited simply by roving tribes 
of nomads. 

The mental attitude of all these good people 
need not surprise anybody. There was nothing 
in the past by which to judge either the task 
before this country, or the way in which that task 
was to be done. As Lowell finely said, on this 
continent we have made new States as Old World 
men pitch tents. Even the most far-seeing states- 
men, those most gifted with the imagination 
needed by really great statesmen, could not at 
first grasp what the process really meant. Slowly 
and with incredible labor the backwoodsmen of 
the old colonies hewed their way through the 
dense forests from the tide- water region to the 
crests of the Alleghanies. But by the time the 

Manhood and Statehood 237 

Alleghanies were reached, about at the moment 
when our national life began, the movement had 
gained wonderful momentum. Thenceforward it 
advanced by leaps and botmds, and the frontier 
pushed westward across the continent with ever- 
increasing rapidity until the day came when it 
vanished entirely. Our greatest statesmen have 
always been those who believed in the nation — 
who had faith in the power of our people to spread 
imtil they should become the mightiest among the 
peoples of the world. 

Under any governmental system which was 
known to Europe, the problem offered by the 
westward thrust, across a continent, of so master- 
ful and liberty-loving a race as ours would have 
been insoluble. The great civilized and colonizing 
races of antiquity, the Greeks and the Romans, 
had been utterly tmable to devise a scheme under 
which when their race spread it might be possible 
to preserve both national tmity and local and indi- 
vidual freedom. When a Hellenic or Latin city 
sent off a colony, one of two things happened. 
Either the colony was kept in political subjection 
to the city or state of which it was an offshoot, or 
else it became a wholly independent and alien, and 
often a hostile, nation. Both systems werefraught 
with disaster. With the Greeks race tmity was 
sacrificed to local independence, and a& k result 
the Greek world became the easy prey of foreign 

238 The Strenuous Life 

conquerors. The Romans kept national tinity, 
but only by means of a crushing centralized des- 

When the modem world entered upon the mar- 
velous era of expansion which began with the 
discoveries of Columbus, the nations were able to 
devise no new plan. All the great colonizing 
powers, England, France, Spain, Portugal, Hol- 
land, and Russia, managed their colonies pri- 
marily in the interest of the home country. Some 
did better than others, — England probably best 
and Spain worst, — ^but in no case were the colonists 
treated as citizens of equal rights in a common 
coimtry. Our ancestors, who were at once the 
strongest and the most liberty-loving among all 
the peoples who had been thrust out into new con- 
tinents, were the first to revolt against this system ; 
and the lesson taught by their success has been 
thoroughly learned. 

In applying the new principles to our conditions 
we have foimd the Federal Constitution a nearly 
perfect instrument. The system of a closely knit 
and indestructible imion of free commonwealths 
has enabled us to do what neither Greek nor 
Roman in their greatest days could do. We have 
preserved the complete tmity of an expanding race 
without impairing in the slightest degree the lib- 
erty of the individual. When in a given locality 
the settlers became sufficiently numeroxis, they 

Manhood and Statehood 239 

were admitted to statehood, and thenceforward 
shared all the rights and all the duties of the citi- 
zens of the older States. As with Columbus and 
the egg, the expedient seems obvious enough now- 
adays ; but then it was so novel that a couple of 
generations had to pass before we oiirselves thor- 
oughly grasped all its features. At last we grew 
to accept as axiomatic the two facts of national 
union and local and personal freedom. As what- 
ever is axiomatic seems commonplace, we now 
tend to accept what has been accomplished as a 
mere matter-of-course incident, of no great mo- 
ment. The very completeness with which the 
vitally important task has been done almost blinds 
us to the extraordinary nature of the achievement. 
You, the men of Colorado, and, above all, the 
older among those whom I am now addressing, 
have been engaged in doing the great typical work 
of our people. Save only the preservation of the 
Union itself, no other task has been so important 
as the conquest and settlement of the West. This 
conquest and settlement has been the stupendous 
feat of our race for the century that has just closed. 
It stands supreme among all such feats. The 
same kind of thing has been in Australia and 
Canada, but upon a less important scale, while 
the Russian advance in Siberia has been incom- 
parably slower. In all the history of mankind 
there is nothing that quite parallels the way in 

S40 The Strenuous Life 

which our people have filled a v acant continent 
with self-governing commonwealSS^ knit into one 
nation. And of all this marvelous history perhaps 
the most wonderful portion is that which deals 
with the way in which the Pacific Coast and the 
Rocky Motmtains were settled. 

The men who founded these communities 
showed practically by their life-work that it is 
indeed the spirit of adventure which is the maker 
of commonwealths. Their traits of daring and 
hardihood and iron endurance are not merely 
indispensable traits for pioneers; they are also 
traits which must go to the make-up of every 
mighty and successful people. You and your 
fathers who built up the West did more even than 
you thought ; for you shaped thereby the destiny 
of the whole republic, and as a necessary corollary 
profotmdly influenced the coiu^e of events through- 
out the world. More and more as the years go by 
this repubUc will find its guidance in the thought 
and action of the West, because the conditions of 
/development in the West have steadily tended to 
accentuate the peculiarly American characteristics 
of its people. 

There was scant room for the coward and the 
weakling in the ranks of the adventurous frontiers- 
men — the pioneer settlers who first broke up the 
wild prairie soil, who first hewed their way into the 
primeval forest, who guided their white-topped 

Manhood and Statehood 241 

wagons across the endless leagues of Indian- 
hatinted desolation, and explored every remote 
motintain-chain in the restless quest for metal 
wealth. Behind them came the men who com- 
pleted the work they had roughly begun: who 
drove the great railroad systems over plain and 
desert and mountain pass ; who stocked the teem- 
ing ranches, and tmder irrigation saw the bright 
green of the alfalfa and the yellow of the golden 
stubble supplant the gray of the sage-brush desert ; 
who have built great populous cities — cities in 
which every art and science of civilization are car- 
ried to the highest point — on tracts which, when 
the nineteenth century had passed its meridian, 
were still known only to the grim trappers and 
hunters and the red lords of the wilderness with 
whom they waged eternal war. 

Such is the record of which we are so proud. 
It is a record of men who greatly dared and 
greatly did; a record of wanderings wider and 
more dangerous than those of the Vikings; a 
record of endless feats of arms, of victory after 
victory in the ceaseless strife waged against wild 
man and wild nature. The winning of the West 
was the great epic feat in the history of our race. 

We have then a right to meet to-day in a spirit 
of just pride in the past. But when we pay hom- 
age to the hardy, grim, resolute men who, with 
incredible toil and risk, laid deep the foundations 

24* The Strenuous Life. 

of the civilization that we inherit, let us steadily 
remember that the only homage that counts is the 
homage of deeds — not merely of words. It is well 
to gather here to show that we remember what has 
been done in the past by the Western pioneers of 
our people, and that we glory in the greatness for 
which they prepared the way. But lip-loyalty by 
itself avails very little, whether it is expressed con- 
cerning a nation or an ideal. It would be a sad 
and evil thing for this cotmtry if ever the day came 
when we considered the great deeds of our fore- 
fathers as an excuse for our resting slothfully 
satisfied with what has been already done. On 
the contrary, they should be an inspiration and 
appeal, summoning us to show that we too have 
courage and strength; that we too are ready to 
dare greatly if the need arises ; and, above all, that 
we are firmly bent upon that steady performance 
of everyday duty which, in the long run, is of such 
incredible worth in the formation of national 

The old iron days have gone, the days when the 
weakling died as the penalty of inability to hold 
his own in the rough warfare against his siurotmd- 
ings. We live in softer times. Let us see to it 
that, while we take advantage of every gentler and 
more humanizing tendency of the age, we yet pre- 
serve the iron quality which made our forefathers 
and predecessors fit to do the deeds they did. It 

Manhood and Statehood 343 

will of necessity find a different expression now, 
but the quality itself remains just as necessary as 
ever. Surely you men of the West, you men who 
with stout heart, cool head, and ready hand have 
wrought out your own success and built up these 
great new commonwealths, surely you need no 
reminder of the fact that if either man or nation 
wishes to play a great part in the world there must 
be no dallying with the life of lazy ease. In the 
abounding energy and intensity of existence in our 
mighty democratic republic there is small space 
indeed for the idler, for the luxury-loving man 
who prizes ease more than hard, triumph-crowned 

We hold work not as a curse but as a blessing, 
and we regard the idler with scornful pity. It 
would be in the highest degree undesirable that 
we should all work m the same way or at the same 
things, and for the sake of the real greatness of 
the nation we should in the fullest and most cor- 
dial way recognize the fact that some of the most 
needed work must, from its very nature, be un- 
remunerative in a material sense. Each man 
must choose so far as the conditions allow him 
the path to which he is bidden by his own peculiar 
powers and inclinations. But if he is a man he 
must in some way or shape do a man's work. If, 
after making all the effort that his strength of 
body and of mind permits, he yet honorably f'^ils, 

244 The Strenuous Life 

why, he is still entitled to a certain share of re- 
spect because he has made the effort. But if he 
does not make the effort, or if he makes it half- 
heartedly and recoils from the labor, the risk, or 
the irksome monotony of his task, why, he has 
forfeited all right to our respect, and has shown 
himself a mere cumberer of the earth. It is not 
given to us all to succeed, but it is given to us all 
to strive manfully to deserve success. 

We need then the iron qualities that must go 
with true manhood. We need the positive virtues 
of resolution, of courage, of indomitable will, of 
power to do without shrinking the rough work that 
must always be done, and to persevere through the 
long days of slow progress or of seeming failure 
which always come before any final triumph, no 
matter how brilliant. But we need more than 
these quaUties. This cotmtry cannot afford to 
have its sons less than men; but neither can it 
afford to have them other than good men. If 
courage and strength and intellect are tmaccom- 
panied by the moral purpose, the moral sense, 
they become merely forms of expression for un- 
scrupulous force and tmscrupulous ctinning. If 
the strong man has not in him the lift toward 
lofty things his strength makes him only a curse 
to himself and to his neighbor. All this is true in 
private life, and it is no less true in pubUc life. If 
Washington and Lincoln had not had in them the 

Manhood and Statehood 245 

whipcord fiber of moral and mental strength, the 
soul that steels itself to endure disaster tmshaken 
and with grim resolve to wrest victory from defeat, 
then the one could not have founded, nor the other 
preserved, our mighty federal Union. The least 
touch of flabbiness, of tmhealthy softness, in either 
would have meant ruin for this nation, and there- 
fore the downfall of the proudest hope of mankind. 
But no less is it true that had either been influ- 
enced by self-seeking ambition, by callous dis- 
regard of others, by contempt for the moral law, 
he would have dashed us down into the black gulf 
of failtu'e. Woe to all of us if ever as a people we 
grow to condone evil because it is successful. We 
can no more afford to lose social and civic decency 
and honesty than we can afford to lose the quali- 
ties of courage and strength. It is the merest 
truism to say that the nation rests upon the indi- 
vidual, upon the family — upon individual manli- 
ness and womanliness, using the words in their 
widest and fullest meaning. 

To be a good husband or good wife, a good 
neighbor and friend, to be hard-working and up- 
right in business and social relations, to bring up 
many healthy children — ^to be and to do all this 
is to lay the fotmdations of good citizenship as 
they must be laid. But we cannot stop even with 
this. Each of us has not only his duty to himself, 
his family, and his neighbors, but his duty to the 

346 The Strenuous Life 

State and to the nation. We are in honor botind 
each to strive according to his or her strength to 
bring ever nearer the day when justice and wis- 
dom shall obtain in public life as in private life. 
We cannot retain the full measure of our self- 
respect if we cannot retain pride in our citizenship. 
For the sake not only of ourselves but of our chil- 
dren and our children's children we must see that 
this nation stands for strength and honesty both 
at home and abroad. In our internal policy we 
cannot afford to rest satisfied tmtil all that the 
government can do has been done to secure fair 
dealing and equal justice as between man and 
man. In the great part which hereafter, whether 
we will or pot, we must play in the worid at large, 
let us see to it that we neither do wrong nor shrink 
from doing right because the right is difficult ; that 
on the one hand we inflict no injury, and that on 
the other we have a due regard for the honor and 
the interest of our mighty nation ; and that we 
keep unsullied the renown of the flag which beyond 
all others of the present time or of the ages of the 
past stands for confident faith in the future welfare 
and greatness of mankind. 


A0DRB88 AT Veterans' Reunion, Burlington, Vermont, 
Thursday, September 5, 1901 




I SPEAK to you to-night less as men of Ver- 
mont than as members of the Grand Army 
which saved the Union. But at the outset 
I must pay a special tribute to your State. Ver- 
mont was not a rich State, compared with many 
States, and she had sent out so many tens of 
thousands of her sons to the West that it is not 
improbable that as many men of Vermont birth 
served in the regiments of other States as in those 
of her own State. Yet, notwithstanding this 
drain, your gallant State was surpassed by no 
other State of the North, either in the ntmiber of 
men according to her population which she sent 
into the army, or in the relative extent of her 
financial support of the war. Too much cannot 
be said of the high quality of the Vermont 
soldiers ; and one contributing factor in securing 
this high quality was the good sense which 
continually sent recruits into the already existing 
regiments instead of forming new ones. 

It is difficult to express the full measure of 
obligation under which this cotmtry is to the men 
who from *6i to '65 took up the most terrible and 
vitally necessary task which has ever fallen to the 


^50 The Strenuous Life 

lot of any generation of men in the western hemi- 
sphere. Other men have rendered great service 
to the cotmtry, but the service you rendered was 
not merely great — ^it was incalculable. Other men 
by their lives or their deaths have kept imstained 
our honor, have wrought marvels for our interest, 
have led us forward to triumph, or warded off 
disaster from us ; other men have marshaled our 
ranks upward across the stony slopes of greatness. 
But you did more, for you saved us from annihila- 
tion. We can feel proud of what others did only 
because of what you did. It was given to you, 
when the mighty days came, to do the mighty 
deeds for which the days called, and if your deeds 
had been left undone, all that had been already 
accomplished would have turned into apples of 
Sodom tmder our teeth. The glory of Washington 
and the majesty of Marshall would have crumbled 
into meaningless dust if you and your comrades 
had not buttressed their work with your strength 
of steel, your courage of fire. The Declaration of 
Independence would now sotmd like a windy plati- 
tude, the Constitution of the United States would 
ring as false as if drawn by the Abb6 Sieyfes in the 
days of the French Terror, if your stem valor had 
not proved the truth of the one and made good the 
promise of the other. In our history there have 
been other victorious struggles for right, on the 
field of battle and in civic strife. To have failed 

The Heroic Virtues 251 

in these other struggles would have meant bitter 
shame and grievous loss. But you fought in the 
one struggle where failure meant death and de- 
struction to our people; meant that our whole 
past history would be crossed out of the records 
of successful endeavor with the red and black lines 
of f ailiure ; meant that not one man in all this wide 
cotmtry would now be holding his head upright as 
a free citizen of a mighty and glorious republic. 

All this you did, and therefore you are entitled 
to the homage of all men who have not forgotten 
in their blindness either the awful nature of the 
crisis, or the worth of priceless service rendered in 
the hour of direst need. 

You met a great need, that vanished because 
of yotu' success. You have left us many mem- 
ories, to be prized forevermore. You have taught 
us many lessons, and none more important than 
the lesson of brotherhood. The realization of the 
tmderlying brotherhood of our people, the feeling 
that there should be among them an essential 
unity of purpose and sympathy, must be kept close 
at heart if we are to do oiu' work well here in our 
American life. You have taught us both by what 
you did on the tented fields, and by what you have «. 
done since in civic life, how this spirit of brother- 
hood can be made a living, a vital force. 

In the first place, you have left us the right of 
brotherhood with the gallant men who wore the 

2S2 The Strenuous Life 

gray in the ranks against which you were pitted. 
At the opening of this new century, all of us, the 
children of a reunited country, have a right to 
glory in the countless deeds of valor done alike by 
the men of the North and the men of the South. 
We can retain an ever-growing sense of the all- 
importance, not merely to our people but to man- 
kind, of the Union victory, while giving the freest 
and heartiest recognition to the smcerity and self- 

< devotion of those Americans, our fellow-cotmtry- 
men, who then fought against the stars in their 
courses. Now there is none left. North or South, 
Who does not take joy and pride in the Union ; and 
when three years ago we once more had to face a 
foreign enemy, the heart of every true American 
thrilled with pride to see veterans who had fought 
in the Confederate uniform once more appear 
under Uncle Sam's colors, side by side with their 
former foes, and leading to victory tmder the 
famous old flag the sons both of those who had 
worn the blue and of those who had worn the gray. 
But there are other ways in which you have 
taught the lesson of brotherhood. In our highly 
complex, highly specialized industrial life of to-day 
there are many tendencies for good and there are 
also many tendencies for evil. Chief among the 
latter is the way in which, in great industrial cen- 
ters, the segregation of interests invites a segrega- 
tion of sympathies. In our old American life, and 

The Heroic Virtues 253 

in the country districts where to-day the old con- 
ditions still largely obtain, there was and is no such 
sharp and rigid demarcation between different 
groups of citizens. In most country districts at • 
the present day not only have the people many/ 
feelings in common, but, what is quite as impor-' 
tant, they are perfectly aware that they have these 
feelings in common. In the cities the divergence 
of real interests is nothing like as great as is com- 
monly supposed ; but it does exist, and, above all, 
there is a tendency to fa get or ignore the commu- 
nity of interest. Ther-; is comparatively little 
neighborliness, and life is so busy and the popula- 
tion so crowded that it is impossible for the 
average man to get into touch with any of his 
fellow-citizens save those in his immediate little 
group. In cpnsequence there tends to grow up a 
feeling of estrangement between different groups, 
of forgetfulness of the great primal needs and 
primal passions that are common to all of us. 

It is therefore of the utmost benefit to have men 
thrown together under circtunstances which force 
them to realize their community of interest, espe- 
cially where the community of interest arises from 
commuAity pf devotion to a lofty ideal. The great 
Civil War rendered precisely this service. It drew 
into the field a very large proportion of the adult 
male population, and it lasted so long that its 
lessons were thoroughly driven home. In our 

254 The Strenuous Life 

other wars the same lessons, or nearly the same 
lessons, have been taught, but upon so much 
smaller a scale that the effect is in no shape or way 
comparable. In the Civil War, merchant and 
clerk, manufacturer and mechanic, farmer and 
hired man, capitalist and wage-worker, city man 
and countryman, Easterner and Westerner, went 
into the army together, faced toil and risk and 
hardship side by side, died with the same forti- 
tude, and felt the same disinterested thrill of 
triumph when the victory came. In our modem 
life there are only a few occupations where risk 
has to be feared, and there are many occupations 
where no exhausting labor has to be faced ; and 
so there are plenty of us who can be benefited by 
a little actual experience with the rough side of 
.things. It was a good thing, a very good thing, 
to have a great mass of our people learn what it 
was to face death and endure toil together, and all 
on an exact level. You whom I am now address- 
ing remember well, do you not, the weary, foot- 
sore marches under the burning sun, when the 
blankets seemed too heavy to carry, and then the 
shivering sleep in the trenches, when the mud 
froze after dark and the blankets seemed altogether 
too light instead of too heavy? You remember 
the scanty fare, and you remember, above all, 
how you got to estimate each of your fellows by 
what there was in him and not by anjrthing adven- 

The Heroic Virtues 255 

titious in his surroundings. It was of vital im- 
portance to you that the men on your left and 
your right should do their duty; that they should 
come forward when the order was to advance; 
that they should keep the lines with ceaseless 
vigilance and fortitude if on the defensive. You 
neither knew nor cared what had been their occu- 
pations, or whether they were in worldly ways 
well off or" the reverse. What you de^red to 
know about them was to be sure that they would 
"stay put" when the crisis came. Was not this 
so? You know it was. 

Moreover, all these qualities of fine heroism and 
stubborn endurance were displayed in a spirit of 
devotion to a lofty ideal, and not for material gain. 
The average man who fought in our armies during 
the Civil War could have gained much more money 
if he had stayed in civil life. When the end came 
his sole reward was to feel that the Union had been 
saved, and the flag which had been rent in sunder 
once more made whole. Nothing was more note- 
worthy than the marvelous way in which, once the 
war was ended, the great armies which had fought 
it to a triumphant conclusion disbanded, and were 
instantly lost in the current of otu: civil life. The 
soldier turned at once to the task of earning his 
own livelihood. But he carried within him mem- 
ories of inestimable benefit to himself, and he 
bequeathed to us who come after him the priceless 

2s6 The Strenuous Life 

heritage of his example. From the major-general 
to the private in the ranks each came back to civil 
life with the proud consciousness of duty well done, 
and all with a feeling of conmiunity of interest 
which they could have gained in no other way. 
Each knew what work was, what danger was. 
Each came back with his own power for labor and 
endurance strengthened, and yet with his sym- 
pathy for others quickened. From that day to 
this the men who fought in the great war have 
inevitably had in them a spirit to which appeal 
for any lofty cause could be made with the con- 
fident knowledge that there would be immediate 
and eager response. In the breasts of the men 
who saw Appomattox there was no room for the 
growth of the jealous, greedy, sullen envy which 
•'makes anarchy, which has bred the red Conunune. 
They had gone down to the root of things, and 
knew how to judge and value, each man his neigh- 
bor, whether that neighbor was rich or poor; 
neither envying him because of his wealth, nor 
despising him because of his poverty. 

The lesson taught by the great war could only 
be imperfectly taught by any lesser war. Never- 
theless, not a little good has been done even by 
such struggles as that which ended in insuring 
independence to Cuba, and in giving to the Philip- 
pines a freedom to which they could never have 
attained had we permitted them to fall into anar- 

The Heroic Virtues 257 

chy or under tyranny. It was a pleasant thing to 
see the way in which men came forward from every 
walk of life, from every section of the country, as 
soon as the call to arms occurred. The need was 
small and easily met, and not one in a hundred of 
the ardent young fellows who pressed forward to 
enter the army had a chance to see any service 
whatever. But it was good to see that the spirit 
of *6i had not been lost. Perhaps the best feature 
of the whole movement was the eagerness with 
which men went into the ranks, anxious only to 
serve their cotmtry and to do their share of the 
work without regard to an)rthing in the way of 
reward or position ; for, gentlemen, it is upon the 
efficiency of the enlisted man, upon the way he 
does his duty, that the efficiency of the whole 
army really depends, and the prime work of the 
officer is, after all, only to develop, foster, and 
direct the good qualities of the men under him. 

Well, this rush into the ranks not only had a 
very good side, but also at times an amusing side. 
I remember one characteristic incident which 
occtirred on board one of our naval vessels. Sev- 
eral of these vessels were officered and manned 
chiefly from the naval militia of the different 
States, the commander and executive officer, and 
a few veterans here and there among the crew, 
being the only ones that came from the regular 
service. The naval militia contained every type 

258 The Strenuous Life 

of man, from bankers with a taste for yachting to 
longshoremen, and they all went in and did their 
best. But of course it was a little hard for some 
of them to adjust themselves to their surrotmd- 
ings. One of the vessels in question, toward the 
end of the war, returned from the Spanish Main 
and anchored in one of our big ports. Early one 
morning a hard-looking and seemingly rather 
dejected member of the crew was engaged in 
" squeegeeing" the quarter-deck, when the captain 
came up and, noticing a large and handsome 
yacht near by (I shall not use the real name of the 
yacht) , remarked to himself : * * I wonder what boat 
that is ? " The man with the squeegee touched his 
cap and said in answer : * * The Dawn, sir. " * * How 
do you know that ? " quoth the captain, looking at 
him. ** Because I own her, sir," responded the 
man with the squeegee, again touching his cap; 
and the conversation ended. 

Now, it was a first-rate thing for that man him- 
self to have served his trick, not merely as the man 
behind the gun, but as the man with the squeegee ; 
and it was a mighty good thing for the country 
that he should do it. In our volunteer regiments 
we had scores of enlisted men of independent 
means serving under officers many of whom were 
dependent for their daily bread upon the work of 
their hands or brain from month to month. It 
was a good thing for both classes to be brought 

The Heroic Virtues 259 

together on such terms. It showed that we of 
this generation had not wholly forgotten the lesson 
taught by you who fought to a finish the great 
Civil War. And there is no danger to the future 
of this country just so long as that lesson is remem- 
bered in all its bearings, civil and military. 

Your history, rightly studied, will teach us the 
time-worn truth that in war, as in peace, we need 
chiefly the everyday, commonplace virtues, and, 
above all, an unflagging sense of duty. Yet in 
dwelling upon the lessons for our ordinary conduct 
which we can learn from your experience, we must 
never forget that it also shows us what should be 
our model in times that are not ordinary, in the 
times that try men's souls. We need to have 
within us the splendid heroic virtues which alone 
avail in the mighty crises, the terrible catastrophes 
whereby a nation is either purified as if by fire, or 
else consumed forever in the flames. When you 
of the Civil War sprang forward at Abraham Lin- 
coln's call to put all that life holds dear, and life 
itself, in the scale with the nation's honor, you 
were able to do what you did because you had in 
you not only the qualities that make good citizens, 
but in addition the high and intense traits, the 
deep passion and enthusiasm, which go to make 
up those heroes who are fit to deal with iron days. 
We can never as a nation afford to forget that, 
back of our reason, our understanding, and our 

«6o The Strenuous Life 

common sense, there must lie, in fuU strength, the 
tremendous ftmdamental passions, which are not 
often needed, but which every truly great race 
must have as a well-spring of motive in time of 

I shall end by quoting to you in substance cer- 
tain words from a minister of the gospel, a most 
witty man, who was also a philosopher and a man 
of profoimd wisdom, Sydney Smith : 

**The history of the world shows us that men 
are not to be counted by their ntunbers, but by 
the fire and vigor of their passions ; by their deep 
^ sense of injury; by their memory of past glory; by 
their eagerness for fresh fame; by their clear and 
steady resolution of either ceasing to live, or of 
achieving a particular object, which, when it is 
once formed, strikes off a load of manacles and 
chains, and gives free space to all heavenly and 
heroic feelings. All great and extraordinary 
actions come from the heart. There are seasons 
in human affairs when qualities, fit enough to con- 
duct the common business of life, are feeble and 
useless, when men must trust to emotion for that 
safety which reason at such times can never give. 
These are the feelings which led the ten thousand 
over the Carduchian Mountains; these are the 
feelings by which a handful of Greeks broke in 
pieces the power of Persia ; and in the fens of the 
Dutch and in the mountains of the Swiss these 

The Heroic Virtues 


feelings defended happiness and revenged the 
oppressions of man! God calls all the passions 
out in their keenness and vigor for the present 
safety of mankind, anger and revenge and the 
heroic mind, and a readiness to suffer — all the 
secret strength, all the invisible array of the feel- 
ings — all that nature has reserved for the great 
scenes of the world. When the usual hopes and 
the common aids of man are all gone, nothing 
remains under God but those passions which have 
often proved the best ministers of His purpose and 
the surest protectors of the world." 


Address at Minnbsota Statb Fair, Sbptbmbbr a, 1901 




IN his admirable series of studies of twentieth- 
century problems, Dr. Lyman Abbott has 
pointed out that we are a nation of pioneers ; 
that the first colonists to our shores were pioneers, 
and that pioneers selected out from among the 
descendants of these eariy pioneers, mingled with 
others selected afresh from the Old World, pushed 
westward into the wilderness and laid the founda- 
tions for new commonwealths. They were men 
of hope and expectation, of enterprise and energy; 
for the men of dull content or more dull despair 
had no part in the great movement into and across 
the New World. Our country has been populated 
by pioneers, and therefore it has in it more energy, 
more enterprise, more expansive power than any 
other in the wide world. 

You whom I am now addressing stand for the 
most part but one generation removed from these 
pioneers. You are typical Americans, for you 
have done the great, the characteristic, the typical 
work of our American life. In making homes and 
carving out careers for yourselves and yotu: chil- 
dren, you have built up this State. Throughout 
our history the success of the home-maker has 

266 The Strenuous Life 

been but another name for the upbuilding of the 
nation. The men who with ax in the forests and 
pick in the mountains and plow on the prairies 
pushed to completion the dominion of our people 
over the American wilderness have given the defi- 
nite shape to our nation. They have shown the 
qualities of daring, endurance, and far-sighted- 
ness, of eager desire for victory and stubborn 
refusal to accept defeat, which go to make up the 
/ ^eQtial--xn.anliness_ of the American character. 
Above all, they have recognized in practical form 
the ftmdamental law of success in American life — 
the law of worthy work, the law of high, resolute 
endeavor. We have but little room among our 
people for the timid, the irresolute, and the idle ; 
and it is no less true that there is scant room in the 
world at large for the nation with mighty thews 
that dares not to be great. 

Surely in speaking to the sons of the men who 
actually did the rough and hard and infinitely 
glorious work of making the great Northwest what 
it now is, I need hardly insist upon the righteous- 
ness of this doctrine. In your own vigorous lives 
you show by every act how scant is your patience 
with those who do not see in the life of effort the 
life supremely worth living. Sometimes we hear 
those who do not work spoken of with envy. 
Surely the wilfully idle need arouse in the breast 
of a healthy man no emotion stronger than that 

National Duties 267 

of contempt — at the outside no emotion stronger 
than angry contempt. The feeling of envy would 
have in it an admission of inferiority on our part, 
to which the men who know not the sterner joys 
of life are not entitled. Poverty is a bitter thing; 
but it is not as bitter as the existence of restless 
vactiity and physical, moral, and intellectual flab- 
biness, to which those doom themselves who 
elect to spend all their years in that vainest of all 
vain pxxrstdts — ^the pursuit of mere pleasure as a 
sufficient end in itself. The wilfully idle man, like 
the wilfully barren woman, has no place in a sane, 
healthy, and vigorous community. Moreover, the 
gross and hideous selfishness for which each stands 
defeats even its own miserable aims. Exactly as 
infinitely the happiest woman is she who has borne 
and brought up many healthy children, so infi- 
nitely the happiest man is he who has toiled hard 
and successfully in his life-work. The work may 
be done in a thousand different ways — ^with the 
brain or the hands, in the study, the field, or the 
workshop — ^if it is honest work, honestly done and 
well worth doing, that is all we have a right to ask. 
Every father and mother here, if they are wise, will 
bring up their children not to shirk difficulties, but 
to meet them and overcome them ; not to strive 
after a life of ignoble ease, but to strive to do their 
duty, first to themselves and their families, and 
then to the whole State; and this duty must 

268 The Strenuous Life 

inevitably take the shape of work in some form or 
other. You, the sons of the pioneers, if you are 
true to your ancestry, must make your lives as 
worthy as they made theirs. They sought for 
true success, and therefore they did not seek ease. 
They knew that success comes only to those who 
lead the life of endeavor. 

It seems to me that the simple acceptance of 
this fimdamental fact of American life, this 
acknowledgment that the law of work is the 
fundamental law of our being, will help us to start 
aright in facing not a few of the problems that 
confront us from without and from within. As 
regards internal affairs, it should teach us the 
prime need of remembering that, after all has been 
said and done, the chief factor in any man's suc- 
cess or failure must be his own character — that is, 
the sum of his common sense, his courage, his virile 
energy and capacity. Nothing can take the place 
of this individual factor. 

I do not for a moment mean that much cannot 
be done to supplement it. Besides each one of 
us working individually, all of us have got to work 
together. We cannot possibly do our best work 
as a nation unless all of us know how to act in com- 
bination as well as how to act each individually for 
himself. The acting in combination can take 
many forms, but of course its most effective form 
must be when it comes in the shape of law — ^that 

National Duties 169 

is, of action by the commtinity as a whole through 
the law-making body. 

But it is not possible ever to insure prosperity 
merely by law. Something for good can be done 
by law, and a bad law can do an infinity of mis- 
chief ; but, after all, the best law can only prevent 
wrong and injustice, and give to the thrifty, the 
far-seeing, and the hard-working a chance to exer- 
cise to best advantage their special and peculiar 
abilities. No hard-and-fast rule can be laid down 
as to where our legislation shall stop in interfering 
between man and man, between interest and in- 
terest. All that can be said is that it is highly 
tmdesirable, on the one hand, to weaken individual 
initiative, and, on the other hand, that in a con- 
stantly increasing ntunber of cases we shall find it 
necessary in the future to shackle cunning as in 
the past we have shackled force. It is not only 
highly desirable but necessary that there should 
be legislation which shall carefully shield the in- 
terests of wage-workers, and which shall discrimi- 
nate in favor of the honest and htimane employer 
by removing the disadvantage under which he 
stands when compared with unscrupulous com- 
petitors who have no conscience and will do right 
only tmder fear of punishment. 

Nor can legislation stop only with what are 
termed labor questions. The vast individual and 
corporate fortunes, the vast combinations of 

aro The Strenuous Life 

capital, which have marked the development of our 
industrial system create new conditions, and neces- 
sitate a change from the old attitude of the State 
and the nation toward property. It is probably 
true that the large majority of the forttmes that 
now exist in this country have been amassed not 
by injuring our people, but as an incident to the 
conferring of great benefits upon the conMntmity; 
and this, no matter what may have been the con- 
scious purpose of those amassing them. There is 
but the scantiest justification for most of the out- 
cry against the men of wealth as such; and it ought 
to be unnecessary to state that any appeal which 
directly or indirectly leads to suspicion and hatred 
among ourselves, which tends to limit opporttmity, 
and therefore to shut the door of success against 
poor men of talent, and, finally, which entails the 
possibility of lawlessness and violence, is an attack 
upon the fundamental properties of American citi- 
zenship. Our interests are at bottom conunon; 
in the long nm we go up or go down together. Yet 
more and more it is evident that the State, and if 
necessary the nation, has got to possess the right 
of supervision and control as regards the great cor- 
porations which are its creatiu^es ; particularly as 
regards the great business combinations which 
derive a portion of their importance from the 
existence of some monopolistic tendency. The 
right should be exercised with caution and self- 

National Duties 271 

restraint; but it should exist, so that it may be 
invoked if the need arises. 

So much for our duties, each to himself and each 
to his neighbor, within the limits of our own coun- 
try. But our country, as it strides forward with 
ever-increasing rapidity to a foremost place among 
the world powers, must necessarily find, more and 
more, that it has world duties also. There are 
excellent people who believe that we can shirk 
these duties and yet retain our self-respect ; but 
these good people are in error. Other good people 
seek to deter us from treading the path of hard but 
lofty duty by bidding us remember that all nations 
that have achieved greatness, that have expanded 
and played their part as world powers, have in the 
end passed away. So they have ; and so have all 
others. The weak and the stationary have van- 
ished as surely as, and more rapidly than, those 
whose citizens felt within them the lift that impels 
generous souls to great and noble effort. This is 
only another way of stating the tmiversal law of 
death, which is itself part of the tmiversal law of 
life. The man who works, the man who does great 
deeds, in the end dies as surely as the veriest idler 
who cumbers the earth's surface; but he leaves 
behind him the great fact that he has done his 
work well. So it is with nations. While the 
nation that has dared to be great, that has had 
the will and the power to change the destiny of 

a7« The Strenuous Life 

the ages, in the end must die, yet no less surely the 
nation that has played the part of the weakling 
must also die; and whereas the nation that has 
done nothing leaves nothing behind it, the nation 
that has done a great work really continues, though 
in changed form, to live forevermore. The Roman 
has passed away exactly as all the nations of 
antiquity which did not expand when he expanded 
have passed away; but their very memory has 
vanished, while he himself is still a living force 
throughout the wide world in our entire civiliza- 
tion of to-day, and will so continue through cotmt- 
less generations, through untold ages. 

It is because we believe with all our heart and 
soul in the greatness of this country, because we 
feel the thrill of hardy life in our veins, and are 
confident that to us is given the privilege of play- 
ing a leading part in the century that has just 
opened, that we hail with eager ddight the oppor- 
tunity to do whatever task Providence may allot 
us. We admit with all sincerity that our first 
duty is within our own household ; that we must 
not merely talk, but act, in favor of cleanliness and 
decency and righteousness, in all political, social, 
and civic matters. No prosperity and no glory 
can save a nation that is rotten at heart. We must 
ever keep the core of our national being sound, and 
see to it that not only our citizens in private life, 
but, above all, oiu- statesmen in public life, prac- 

National Duties 273 

tise the old commonplace virtues which from time 
immemorial have lain at the root of all true 
national well-being. Yet while this is our first 
duty, it is not our whole duty. Exactly as each 
man, while doing first his duty to his wife and the 
children within his home, must yet, if he hopes to 
amount to much, strive mightily in the worid out- 
side his home, so our nation, while first of all seeing 
to its own domestic well-being, must not shrink 
from playing its part among the great nations 
without. Our duty may take many forms in the 
future as it has taken many forms in the past. 
Nor is it possible to lay down a hard-and-fast rule 
for all cases. We must ever face the fact of our 
shifting national needs, of the always-changing 
opportunities that present themselves. But we 
may be certain of one thing: whether we wish it 
or not, we cannot avoid hereafter having duties to 
do in the face of other nations. All that we can 
do is to settle whether we shall perform these 
duties well or ill. 

Right here let me make as vigorous a plea as I 
know how in favor of saying nothing that we do 
not mean, and of acting without hesitation up to 
whatever we say. A good many of you are prob- 
ably acquainted with the old proverb: "Speak 
softly and carry a big stick — ^you will go far." If 
a man continually blusters, if he lacks civility, a 
big stick will not save him from trouble; and 

274 The Strenuous Life 

neither will speaking softly avail, if back of the 
softness there does not lie strength, power. In 
private life there are few beings more obnoxious 
than the man who is always loudly boasting ; and 
if the boaster is not prepared to back up his words 
his position becomes absolutely contemptible. So 
it is with the nation. It is both foolish and 
undignified to indulge in undue self-glorifica- 
tion, and, above all, in loose-tongued denuncia- 
tion of other peoples. Whenever on any point 
we come in contact with a foreign power, I 
hope that we shall always strive to speak cour- 
teoiisly and respectfully of that foreign power. 
Let us make it evident that we intend to do justice. 
Then let us make it equally evident that we will 
not tolerate injustice being done to us in return. 
Let us further make it evident that we use no 
words which we are not prepared to back up with 
deeds, and that while our speech is always mod- 
erate, we are ready and willing to make it good. 
Such an attitude will be the surest possible guar- 
anty of that self-respecting peace, the attainment 
of which is and must ever be the prime aim of a 
self-governing people. 

This is the attitude we should take as regards 
the Monroe Doctrine. There is not the least need 
of blustering about it. Still less should it be used 
as a pretext for our own aggrandizement at the 
expense of any other American state. But, most 

National Duties 275 

emphatically, we miist make it evident that we 
intend on this point ever to maintain the old 
American position. Indeed, it is hard to under- 
stand how any man can take any other position, 
now that we are all looking forward to the build- 
ing of the Isthmian Canal. The Monroe Doctrine 
is not international law; but there is no necessity 
that it should be. All that is needful is that it 
should continue to be a cardinal feature of Amer- 
ican policy on this continent; and the Spanish- 
American states should, in their own interest, 
champion it as strongly as we do. We do not by 
this doctrine intend to sanction any policy of 
aggression by one American con^nonwealth at 
the expense of any other, nor any policy of com- 
mercial discrimination against any foreign power 
whatsoever. Commercially, as far as this doctrine 
is concerned, all we wish is a fair field and no favor ; 
but if we are wise we shall strenuously insist that 
under no pretext whatsoever shall there be any 
territorial aggrandizement on American soil by 
any Eiu"opean power, and this, no matter what 
form the territorial aggrandizement may take. 

We most earnestly hope and believe that the 
chance of our having any hostile miUtary complica- 
tion with any foreign power is very small. But 
that there will come a strain, a jar, here and there, 
from coHMnercial and agricultiu'al — ^that is, from 
industrial — competition, is almost inevitable. 

276 The Strenuous Life 

Here again we have got to remember that our first 
duty is to our own people, and yet that we can best 
get justice by doing justice. We must continue 
the policy that has been so brilliantly successful 
in the past, and so shape our economic system as 
to give every advantage to the skill, energy, and 
intelligence of our farmers, merchants, manufac- 
turers, and wage-workers ; and yet we must also 
remember, in dealing with other nations, that 
benefits must be given where benefits are sought. 
It is not possible to dogmatize as to the exact way 
of attaining this end, for the exact conditions can- 
not be foretold. In the long run, one of our prime 
needs is stability and continuity of economic 
policy ; and yet, through treaty or by direct legis- 
lation, it may, at least in certain cases, become 
advantageous to supplement our present policy 
by a system of reciprocal benefit and obliga- 

Throughout a large part of our national career 
our history has been one of expansion, the expan- 
sion being of different kinds at different times. 
This expansion is not a matter of regret, but of 
pride. It is vain to tell a people as masterful as 
ours that the spirit of enterprise is not safe. The 
true American has never feared to run risks when 
the prize to be won was of sufficient value. No 
nation capable of self-government, and of develop- 
ing by its own efforts a sane and orderly civiliza- 

National Duties 277 

tion, no matter how small it may be, has anjrthing 
to fear from us. Our dealings with Cuba illustrate 
this, and should be forever a subject of just 
national pride. We speak in no spirit of arrogance 
when we state as a simple historic fact that never 
in recent times has any great nation acted with 
such disinterestedness as we have shown in Cuba. 
We freed the island from the Spanish yoke. We 
then earnestly did our best to help the Cubans in 
the establishment of free education, of law and 
order, of material prosperity, of the cleanliness 
necessary to sanitary well-being in their great 
cities. We did all this at great expense of treasure, 
at some expense of life ; and now we are establish- 
ing them in a free and independent common- 
wealth, and have asked in return nothing whatever 
save that at no time shall their independence be 
prostituted to the advantage of some foreign rival 
of ours, or so as to menace our well-being. To 
have failed to ask this would have amotmted to 
national stultification on our part. 

In the PhiUppines we have brought peace, and 
we are at this moment giving them such freedom 
and self-government as they could never under 
any conceivable conditions have obtained had we 
turned them loose to sink into a welter of blood 
and confusion, or to become the prey of some 
strong tyraimy without or within. The bare recital 
of the facts is sufficient to show that we did our 

278 The Strenuous Life 

duty; and what prouder title to honor can a 
nation have than to have done its duty ? We have 
done our duty to ourselves, and we have done the 
higher duty of promoting the civilization of man- 
kind. The first essential of civiUzation is law. 
Anarchy is simply the handmaiden and fore- 
runner of tyranny and despotism. Law and order 
enforced with justice and by strength lie at the 
foundations of civilization. Law must be based 
upon justice, else it cannot stand, and it must be 
enforced with resolute firmness, because weakness 
in enforcing it means in the end that there is no 
justice and no law, nothing but the rule of dis- 
orderly and unscrupulous strength. Without the 
habit of orderly obedience to the law, without the 
stem enforcement of the laws at the expense of 
those who defiantly resist them, there can be no 
possible progress, moral or material, in civiliza- 
tion. There can be no weakening of the law- 
abiding spirit here at home, if we are permanently 
to succeed ; and just as little can we afford to show 
weakness abroad. Lawlessness and anarchy were 
put down in the Philippines as a prerequisite to 
introducing the reign of justice. 

Barbarism has, and can have, no place in a 
civilized world. It is our duty toward the people 
living in barbarism to see that they are freed from 
their chains, and we can free them only by destroy- 
ing barbarism itself. The missionary, the mer^ 

National Duties 279 

chant and the soldier may each have to play a part 
in this destruction, and in the consequent uplifting 
of the people. Exactly as it is the duty of a civil- 
ized power scrupulously to respect the rights of all 
weaker civilized powers and gladly to help those 
who are struggling toward civilization, so it is its 
duty to put down savagery and barbarism. As in 
such a work human instruments must be used, and 
as htunan instruments are imperfect, this means 
that at times there will be injustice ; that at times 
merchant or soldier, or even missionary, may do 
wrong. Let us instantly condemn and rectify 
such wrong when it occurs, and if possible punish 
the wrong-doer. But shame, thrice shame to us, 
if we are so foolish as to make such occasional 
wrong-doing an excuse for failing to perform a 
a great and righteous task. Not only in our own 
land, but throughout the world, throughout all 
history, the advance of civilization has been of 
incalculable benefit to mankind, and those through 
whom it has advanced deserve the highest honor. 
All honor to the missionary, all honor to the sol- 
dier, all honor to the merchant who now in our 
own day have done so much to bring light into 
the world's dark places. 

Let me insist again, for fear of possible miscon- 
struction, upon the fact that our duty is twofold, 
and that we must raise others while we are benefit- 
ing ourselves. In bringing order to the Philippines, 

28o The Strenuous Life 

otir soldiers added a new page to the honor- 
roll of American history, and they incalctilably 
benefited the islanders themselves. Under the 
wise administration of Governor Taft the islands 
now enjoy a peace and liberty of which they have 
hitherto never even dreamed. But this peace and 
liberty imder the law must be supplemented by 
material, by industrial development. Every en- 
couragement should be given to their commercial 
development, to the introduction of American 
industries and products ; not merely because this 
will be a good thing for oiu- people, but infinitely 
more because it will be of incalculable benefit to 
the people in the Philippines. 

We shall make mistakes; and if we let these 
mistakes frighten us from our work we shall show 
ourselves weaklings. Half a century ago Minne- 
sota and the two Dakotas were Indian himting- 
grounds. We committed plenty of bltmders, and 
now and then worse than bltmders, in our dealings 
with the Indians. But who does not admit at the 
present day that we were right in wresting from 
barbarism and adding to civilization the territory 
out of which we have made these beautiful States? 
And now we are civilizing the Indian and putting 
him on a level to which he could never have 
attained imder the old conditions. 

In the Philippines let us remember that the 
spirit and not the mere form of government is the 

National Duties 281 

essential matter. The Tagalogs have a htindred- 
fold the freedom under us that they would have 
if we had abandoned the islands. We are not 
trying to subjugate a people; we are trying to 
develop them and make them a law-abiding, in- 
dustrious, and educated people, and we hope 
ultimately a self-governing people. In short, in 
the work we have done we are but carrying out 
the true principles of our democracy. We work 
in a spirit of self-respect for ourselves and of good 
will toward others, in a spirit of love for and of 
infinite faith in mankind. We do not blindly 
refuse to face the evils that exist, or the short- 
comings inherent in htimanity; but across bltm- 
dering and shirking, across selfishness and mean- 
ness of motive, across short-sightedness and cow- 
ardice, we gaze steadfastly toward the far horizon 
of golden triximph. 

If you will study our past history as a nation 
you will see we have made many bltmders and 
have been guilty of many shortcomings, and yet 
that we have always in the end come out victo- 
rious because we have refused to be daunted by 
blunders and defeats, have recognized them, but 
have persevered in spite of them. So it must be 
in the future. We gird up our loins as a nation, 
with the stem purpose to play our part manfully 
in winning the ultimate triumph; and therefore 
we turn scornfully aside from the paths of mere 

382 The Strenuous Life 

ease and idleness, and with tinfaltering steps 
tread the rough road of endeavor, smiting down 
the wrong and battling for the right, as Great- 
heart smote and battled in Bunyan's immortal 


At thb Chicago Labor Day Picnic. Sbptbmbbr 3, 1900 




BY far the greatest problem, the most far- 
reaching in its stupendous importance, is 
that problem, or rather that group of prob- 
lems, which we have grown to speak of as the labor 
question. It must be always a peculiar privilege 
for any thoughtful public man to address a body 
of men predominantly composed of wage-workers, 
for the foundation of our whole social structure 
rests upon the material and moral well-being, the 
intelligence, the foresight, the sanity, the sense of 
duty, and the wholesome patriotism of the wage- 
worker. This is doubly the case now; for, in 
addition to each man's individual action, you 
have learned the great lesson of acting in com- 
bination. It would be impossible to overestimate 
the far-reaching influences of, and, on the whole, 
the amount of good done through yotu* associa- 

In addressing you, the one thing that I wish 
to avoid is any mere glittering generality, any 
mere high-sounding phraseology, and, above all, 
any appeal whatsoever made in a demagogic spirit, 
or in a spirit of mere emotionalism. When we 
come to dealing with our social and industrial 


386 The Strenuous Life 

needs, remedies, rights and wrongs, a ton of ora- 
tory is not worth an ounce of hard-headed, kindly 
common sense. 

The fundamental law of healthy political life in 
this great repubUc is that each man shall in deed, 
and not merely in word, be treated strictly on his 
worth as a man ; that each shall do ftill justice to 
his fellow, and in return shall exact ftdl justice 
from him. Each group of men has its special in- 
terests ; and yet the higher, the broader and deeper 
interests are those which apply to all men alike ; for 
the spirit of brotherhood in American citizenship, 
when rightly understood and rightly applied, is 
more important than aught else. Let us scrupu- 
lously guard the specif interests of the wage- 
worker, the farmer, the manufacturer, and the mer- 
chant, giving to each man his due and also seeing 
that he does not wrong his fellows ; but let us keep 
ever clearly before our minds the great fact that, 
where the deepest chords are touched, the interests 
of all are alike and must be guarded alike. 

We must beware of any attempt to make hatred 
in any form the basis of action. Most emphatic- 
ally each of us needs to stand up for his own rights ; 
all men and all groups of men are bound to retain 
their self-respect, and, demanding this same re- 
spect from others, to see that they are not injured 
and that they have secured to them the fullest lib- 
erty of thought and action. But to feed fat a 

The Labor Question asj 

grudge against others, while it may or may not 
harm them, is sure in the long run to do infinitely 
greater harm to the man himself. 

The more a healthy American sees of his fellow- 
Americans the greater grows his conviction that 
our chief troubles come from mutual misunder- 
standing, from failure to appreciate one another's 
point of view. In other words, the great need is 
fellow-feeling, sjmipathy, brotherhood; and all 
this naturally comes by association. It is, there- 
fore, of vital importance that there should be such 
association. The most serious disadvantage in 
city life is the tendency of each man to keep 
isolated in his own little set, and to look upon the 
vast majority of his fellow-citizens indifferently, 
80 that he soon comes to forget that they have the 
same red blood, the same loves and hates, the same 
likes and dislikes, the same desire for good, and 
the same perpetual tendency, ever needing to be 
checked and corrected, to lapse from good into evil. 
If only our people can be thrown together, where 
they act on a common ground with the same 
motives, and have the same objects, we need not 
have much fear of their failing to acquire a genuine 
respect for one another; and with such respect 
there must finally come fair play for all. 

The first time I ever labored alongside of and 
got thrown into intimate companionship with men 
who were mighty men of their hands was in the 

288 The Strenuous Life 

cattle country of the Northwest. I soon grew to 
have an immense liking and respect for my asso- 
ciates, and as I knew them, and did not know 
similar workers in other parts of the cotmtry, it 
seemed to me that the ranch-owner was a great 
deal better than any Eastern business man, and 
that the cow-puncher stood on a corresponding 
altitude compared with any of his brethren in the 

Well, after a little while I got thrown into close 
relations with the farmers, and it did not take long 
before I had moved them up alongside of my 
beloved cowmen ; and I made up my mind that 
they really formed the backbone of the land. Then, 
because of certain circumstances, I was thrown 
into intimate contact with railroad men; and I 
gradually came to the conclusion that these rail- 
road men were about the finest citizens there were 
anywhere around. Then, in the course of some 
official work, I was thrown into close contact with 
a number of the carpenters, blacksmiths, and men 
in the building trades, that is, skilled mechanics of 
a high order, and it was not long before I had 
them on the same pedestal with the others. By 
that time it began to dawn on me that the diflEer- 
ence was not in the men but in my own point of 
view, and that if any man is thrown into close con- 
tact with any large body of our fellow-citizens it 
is apt to be the man's own fault if he does not 

The Labor Question 289 

grow to fed for them a very hearty regard and, 
moreover, grow to understand that, on the great 
questions that lie at the root of hiunan well-being, 
he and they feel alike. 

Our prime need as a nation is that every Amer- 
ican should understand and work with his fellow- 
citizens, getting into touch with them, so that by 
acttial contact he may learn that fundamentally 
he and they have the same interests, needs, and 

Of course different sections of the commtmity 
have different needs. The gravest questions that 
are before us, the questions that are for all time, 
affect us all alike. But there are separate needs 
that aflfect separate groups of men, just as there 
are separate needs that affect each individual man. 
It is just as tmwise to forget the one fact as it is to 
forget the other. The specialization of our mod- 
em industrial life, its high development and 
complex character, means a corresponding special- 
ization in needs and interests. While we should, 
so long as we can safely do so, give to each indi- 
vidual the largest possible liberty, a liberty which 
necessarily includes initiative and responsibility, 
yet we must not hesitate to interfere whenever it 
is clearly seen that harm comes from excessive 
individualism. We cannot afford to be empirical 
one way or the other. In the cotmtry districts 
the surroundings are such that a man can ustially 

290 The Strenuous Life 

work out his own fate by himself to the best advan- 
tage. In our cities, or where men congr^[ate in 
masses, it is often necessary to work in combina- 
tion, that is, through associations ; and here it is 
that we can see the great good conferred by labor 
organizations, by trade tmions. Of course, if 
managed tmwisely, the very power of such a union 
or organization makes it capable of doing much 
harm ; but, on the whole, it would be hard to over- 
estimate the good these organizations have done 
in the past, and still harder to estimate the good 
they can do in the futiu^ if handled with resolu- 
tion, forethought, honesty, and sanity. 

It is not possible to lay down a hard-and-fast 
rule, logically perfect, as to when the State shall 
interfere, and when the individual must be left 
tmhampered and tmhelped. 

We have exactly the same right to regulate the 
conditions of life and work in factories and tene- 
ment-houses that we have to regulate fire-escapes 
and the like in other houses. In certain commu- 
nities the existence of a thoroughly efficient depart- 
ment of factory inspection is just as essential as 
the establishment of a fire department. How far 
we shall go in regulating the hours of labor, or the 
Uabilities of employers, is a matter of expediency, 
and each case must be determined on its own 
merits, exactly as it is a matter of expediency to 
determine what so-called ** public utilities** the 

The Labor Question 291 

community shall itself own and what ones it shall 
leave to private or corporate ownership, securing 
to itself merely the right to regulate. Sometimes 
one course is expedient, sometimes the other. 

In my own State during the last half-dozen 
years we have made a number of notable strides 
in labor legislation, and, with very few exceptions, 
the laws have worked well. This is, of course, 
partly because we have not tried to do too much 
and have proceeded cautiously, feeling our way, 
and, while always advancing, yet taking each step 
in advance only when we were satisfied that the 
step already taken was in the right direction. To 
invite reaction by tmregulated zeal is never wise, 
and is sometimes fatal. 

In New York our action has been along two 
lines. In the first place, we determined that as 
an employer of labor the State should set a good 
example to other employers. We do not intend to 
permit the people's money to be squandered or to 
tolerate any work that is not the best. But we 
think that, while rigidly insisting upon good work, 
we should see that there is fair play in retiun. 
Accordingly, we have adopted an eight-hour law 
for the State employees and for all contractors who 
do State work, and we have also adopted a law 
requiring that the fair market rate of wages shall 
be given. I am glad to say that both measures 
have so far, on the whole, worked well. Of course 

292 The Strenuous Life 

there have been individtial diffictilties, mostly 
where the work is intermittent, as, for instance, 
among lock-tenders on the canals, where it is very 
difficult to define what eight hotirs* work means. 
But, on the whole, the result has been good. The 
practical experiment of working men for eight 
hours has been advantageous to the State. Poor 
work is always dear, whether poorly paid or not, 
and good work is always well worth having; and 
as a mere question of expediency, aside even from 
the question of hiunanity, we find that we can 
obtain the best work by paying fair wages and 
pennitting the work to go on only for a reasonable 

The other side of our labor legislation has been 
that affecting the wage-workers who do not work 
for the State. Here we have acted in three dif- 
ferent ways : through the Btu'eau of Labor Statis- 
tics, through the Board of Mediation and Arbitra- 
tion, and through the Department of Factory 

During the last two years the Board of Mediation 
and Arbitration have been especially successful. 
Not only have they succeeded in settling many 
strikes after they were started, but they have suc- 
ceeded in preventing a much larger number of 
strikes before they got fairly tmder way. Where 
possible it is always better to mediate before the 
strike begins than to try to arbitrate when the fight 

The Labor Question 293 

is on and both sides have grown stubborn and 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has done more 
than merely gather the statistics, for by keeping 
in close touch with all the leading labor interests 
it has kept them informed on cotmtless matters 
that were really of vital concern to them. Inci- 
dentally, one pleasing feature of the work of this 
btu'eau has been the steady upward tendency 
shown during the last fotu* years both in amount 
of wages received and in the quantity and steadi- 
ness of employment. No other man has benefited 
so much as the wage-worker by the growth in pros- 
perity during these years. 

The Factory Inspection Department deals 
chiefly, of course, with conditions in great cities. 
One very important phase of its work during the 
last two years has been the enforcement of the 
anti-sweatshop law, which is primarily designed 
to do away with the tenement-house factory. The 
conditions of Ufe in some of the congested tene- 
ment-house districts, notably in New York City, 
had become such as to demand action by the State. 
As with other reforms, in order to make it stable 
and permanent, it had to be gradual. It proceeded 
by evolution, not revolution. But progress has 
been steady, and wherever needed it has been radi- 
cal. Much remains to be done, but the condition 
of the dwellers in the congested districts has been 

294 The Strenuous Life 

markedly improved, to the great benefit not only 
of themselves, but of the whole community. 

A word on the general question. In the first 
place, in addressing an audience like this, I do not 
have to say that the law of life is work, and that 
work in itself, so far from being a hardship, is a 
great blessing, provided, always, it is carried on 
tmder conditions which preserve a man's self- 
respect and which allow him to develop his own 
character and rear his children so that he and they, 
as well as the whole commimity of which he and 
they are part, may steadily move onward and 
upward. The idler, rich or poor, is at best a use- 
less and is generally a noxious member of the com- 
munity. To whom much has been given, from 
him much is rightftilly expected, and a heavy 
burden of responsibility rests upon the man of 
means to justify by his actions the social con- 
ditions which have rendered it possible for him 
or his forefathers to accumulate and to keep the 
property he enjojrs. He is not to be excused if 
he does not render full measure of service to the 
State and to the commtmity at large. There are 
many ways in which this service can be ren- 
dered, — in art, in literattire, in philanthropy, as 
a statesman, as a soldier, — but in some way he is 
in honor boimd to render it, so that benefit may 
accrue to his brethren who have been less favored 
by fortime than he has been. In short, he must 

The Labor Question 295 

work, and work not only for himself, but for 
others. If he does not work, he fails not only in 
his duty to the rest of the community, but he fails 
signally in his duty to himself. There is no need 
of envying the idle. Ordinarily, we can aflford to 
treat them with impatient contempt; for when 
they fail to do their duty they fail to get from life 
the highest and keenest pleasure that life can give. 
To do our duty — ^that is the summing up of the 
whole matter. We must do our duty by our- 
selves and we must do our duty by our neighbors. 
Every good citizen, whatever his condition, owes 
his first service to those who are nearest to him, 
who are dependent upon him, to his wife and his 
children ; next he owes his duty to his fellow-citi- 
zens, and this duty he must perform both to his 
individual neighbor and to the State, which is 
simply a form of expression for all his neighbors 
combined. He must keep his self-respect and 
exact the respect of others. It is eminently wise 
and proper to strive for such leistire in our lives as 
will give a chance for self -improvement ; but woe 
to the man who seeks, or trains up his children to 
seek, idleness instead of the chance to do good 
work. No worse wrong can be done by a man to 
his children than to teach them to go through life 
endeavoring to shirk diffictilties instead of meeting 
them and overcoming them. You men here in the 
West have built up this coimtry not by seeking to 

296 The Strenuous Life 

avoid work, but by doing it well ; not by flinching 
from every difBctilty, but by triumphing over each 
as it arose and making out of it a stepping-stone 
to ftuther triumph. 

We must all leam the two lessons — ^the lesson 
of self-help and the lesson of giving help to and 
receiving help from our brother. There is not a 
man of us who does not sometimes slip, who does 
not sometimes need a helping hand ; and woe to 
him who, when the chance comes, fails to stretch 
out that helping hand. Yet, though each man 
can and ought thus to be helped at times, he is lost 
beyond redemption if he becomes so dependent 
upon outside help that he feels that his own exer- 
tions are secondary. Any man at times will 
sttunble, and it is then our duty to lift him up and 
set him on his feet again ; but no man can be per- 
manently carried, for if he expects to be carried 
he shows that he is not worth canying. 

Before us loom industrial problems vast in their 
importance and their complexity. The last half- 
centiuy has been one of extraordinary social and 
industrial development. The changes have been 
far-reaching; some of them for good, and some of 
them for evil. It is not given to the wisest of us 
to see into the future with absolute clearness. No 
man can be certain that he has fotmd the entire 
solution of this infinitely great and intricate prob- 
lem, and yet each man of us, if he would do his 

The Labor Question J97 

duty, must strive manfully so far as in him lies to 
help bring about that solution. It is not as yet 
possible to say what shall be the exact limit of 
influence allowed the State, or what limit shall be 
set to that right of individual initiative so dear to 
the hearts of the American people. All we can 
say is that the need has been shown on the one 
hand for action by the people, in their collective 
capacity through the State, in many matters; 
that in other matters much can be done by asso- 
ciations of different groups of individuals, as in 
trade tmions and similar organizations ; and that 
in other matters it remains now as true as ever 
that final success will be for the man who trusts 
in the struggle only to his cool head, his brave 
heart, and his strong right arm. There are 
spheres in which the State can properly act, and 
spheres in which a free field must be given to indi- 
vidual initiative. 

Though the conditions of life have grown so 
puzzling in their complexity, though the changes 
have been so vast, yet we may remain absolutely 
stire of one thing, that now, as ever in the past, and 
as it ever will be in the future, there can be no sub- 
stitute for the elemental virtues, for the elemental 
qualities to which we allude when we speak of a 
man as not only a good man but as emphatically 
a man. We can build up the standard of indi- 
vidual citizenship and individual well-being, we 

^98 The Strenuous Life 

can raise the national standard and make it what 
it can and shall be made, only by each of us stead- 
fastly keeping in mind that there can be no substi- 
tute for the world-old, htundrum, commonplace 
qualities of truth, justice and courage, thrift, in- 
dustry, common sense, and genuine sympathy with 
and fellow-feeling for others. The nation is the 
aggregate of the individuals composing it, and 
each individual American ever raises the nation 
higher when he so conducts himself as to wrong no 
man, to suffer no wrong from others, and to show 
both his sturdy capacity for self-help and his 
readiness to extend a helping hand to the neighbor 
sinking under a burden too heavy for him to bear. 
The one fact which all of us need to keep stead- 
fastly before our eyes is the need that performance 
should square with promise if good work is to be 
done, whether in the industrial or in the political 
world. Nothing does more to promote mental 
dishonesty and moral insincerity than the habit 
either of promising the impossible, or of demand- 
ing the performance of the impossible, or, finally, 
of failing to keep a promise that has been made ; 
and it makes not the slightest difference whether 
it is a promise made on the sttunp or off the stiunp. 
Remember that there are two sides to the wrong 
thus committed. There is, first, the wrong of fail- 
ing to keep a promise made, and, in the next place, 
there is the wrong of demanding the impossible* 

The Labor Question 299 

and therefore forcing or permitting weak or un- 
scrupulous men to make a promise which they 
either know, or should know, cannot be kept. No 
small part of our troubles in dealing with many 
of the gravest social questions, such as the so- 
called labor question, the trust question, and 
others like them, arises from these two attitudes. 
We can do a great deal when we undertake, 
soberly, to do the possible. When we undertake 
the impossible, we too often fail to do anything at 
all. The success of the law for the taxation of 
franchises recently enacted in New York State, a 
measure which has resulted in putting upon the 
assessment books nearly $200,000,000 worth of 
property which had theretofore escaped taxation, 
is an illustration of how much can be accomplished 
when effort is made along sane and sober lines, 
with care not to promise the impossible but to 
make performance square with promise, and with 
insistence on the fact that honesty is never one- 
sided, and that in dealing with corporations it is 
necessary both to do to them and to exact from 
them full and complete justice. The success of 
this effort, made in a resolute but also a temperate 
and reasonable spirit, shows what can be done 
when such a problem is approached in a sound 
and healthy manner. It offers a striking con- 
trast to the complete breakdown of the species of 
crude and violent anti-trust legislation which has 

300 The Strenuous Life 

been so often attempted, and which has always 
failed, becaiise of its very cnideness and violence, 
to make any impression upon the real and danger- 
ous evils which have excited such just popular 

I thank you for listening to me. I have come 
here to-day not to preach to you, but partly to 
tell you how these matters look and seem to me, 
and partly to set forth certain facts which seem to 
me to show the essential commtmity that there is 
among all of tis who strive in good faith to do our 
duty as American citizens. No man can do his 
duty who does not work, and the work may take 
many different shapes, mental and physical; but 
of tWs you can rest assured, that this work can be 
done well for the nation only when each of xas 
approaches his separate task, not only with the 
determination to do it, but with the knowledge 
that his fellow, when he in his turn does his task, 
has fundamentally the same rights and the same 
duties, and that while each must work for him- 
self, yet each must also work for the common 
welfare of all. 

On the whole, we shall all go up or go down 
together. Some may go up or go down further 
than others, but, disregarding special exceptions, 
the rule is that we must all share in common some- 
thing of whatever adversity or whatever prosperity 
is in store for the nation as a whole. In the long 

The Labor Question 301 

run each section of the community will rise or fall 
as the commimity rises or falls. If hard times 
come to the nation, whether as the result of natu- 
ral causes or because they are invited by our own 
folly, all of us will suffer. Certain of us will suffer 
more, and others less, but all will suffer somewhat. 
If, on the other hand, under Providence, our own 
energy and good sense bring prosperity to us, all 
will share in that prosperity. We will not all 
share alike, but something each one of us will get. 
Let tis strive to make the conditions of life such 
that as nearly as possible each man shall receive 
the share to which he is honestly entitled and no 
more ; and let us remember at the same time that 
our efforts must be to build up, rather than to 
strike down, and that we can best help ourselves, 
not at the expense of others, but by heartily work- 
ing with them for the common good of each and all. 


Addrbss bbforb thb Young Mbn's Christian Associa- 
tion, Carnboib Hall, Nbw Yorjc, Dbcbicbbr 30, 1900 




IT is a peculiar pleasure to me to come before 
you to-night to greet you and to bear testi- 
mony to the great good that has been done by 
these Yoimg Men's and Yoimg Women's Christian 
Associations throughout the United States. More 
and more we are getting to recognize the law of 
combination. This is true of many phases in our 
industrial life, and it is equally true of the world 
of philanthropic effort. Nowhere is it, or will it 
ever be, possible to supplant individual effort, indi- 
vidual initiative; but in addition to this there 
must be work in combination. More and more 
this is recognized as true not only in charitable 
work proper, but in that best form of philanthropic 
endeavor where we all do good to ourselves by all 
joining together to do good to one another. This 
is exactly what is done in your associations. 

It seems to me that there are several reasons 
why you are entitled to especial recognition from 
all who are interested in the betterment of our 
American social system. First and foremost, 
your organization recognizes the vital need of 
brotherhood, the most vital of all our needs here 
in this great republic. The existence of a Young 
90 3P5 

3o6 The Strenuous Life 

Men's or Young Women's Christian Association 
is certain proof that some people at least recog- 
nize in practical shape the identity of aspiration 
and interest, both in things material and in things 
higher, which with us must be widespread through 
the masses of our people if our national life is to 
attain full development. This spirit of brother- 
hood recognizes of necessity both the need of self- 
help and also the need of helping others in the only 
way which ever ultimately does great good, that 
is, of helping them to help themselves. Every 
man of us needs such help at some time or other, 
and each of us should be glad to stretch out his 
hand to a brother who stumbles. But while every 
man needs at times to be lifted up when he stum- 
bles, no man can afford to let himself be carried, 
and it is worth no man's while to try thus to cany 
some one else. The man who lies down, who will 
not try to walk, has become a mere cumberer of 
the earth's surface. 

Tliese associations of yours try to make men 
self-helpful and to help them when they are self- 
helpful. They do not try merely to carry them, 
to benefit them for the moment at the cost of their 
future tmdoing. This means that all in any way^ 
connected with them not merely retain but in- 
crease their self-respect. Any man who takes 
part in the work of such an organization is bene- 
fited to some extent and benefits the community 

Christian Citizenship 307 

to some extent — of course, always with the proviso 
that the organization is well managed and is run on 
a business basis, as well as with a philanthropic 

The feeling of brotherhood is necessarily as 
remote from a patronizing spirit, on the one hand, 
as from a spirit of envy and malice, on the other. 
The best work for our uplifting must be done by 
ourselves, and yet with brotherly kindness for our 
neighbor. In such work, and therefore in the kind 
of work done by the Yoimg Men's Christian Asso- 
ciations, we all stand on the self-respecting basis 
of mutual benefit and common effort. All of us 
who take part in any such work, in whatever 
measiu-e, both receive and confer benefits. This 
is true of the foimder and giver, and it is no less 
true of every man who takes advantage of what 
the foimder and giver have done. These bodies 
make us all realize how much we have in common, 
and how much we can do when we work in com- 
mon. I doubt if it is possible to overestimate the 
good done by the mere fact of association with a 
common interest and for a common end, and when 
the common interest is high and the common end 
peculiarly worthy, the good done is of course 
many times increased. 

Besides developing this sense of brotherhood, 
the feeling which breeds respect both for one's self 
and for others, your associations have a peculiar 

3o8 The Strenuous Life 

value in showing what can be done by acting 
in combination without aid from the State. While 
on the one hand it has become evident that imder 
the conditions of modem life we cannot allow an 
unlimited individualism, which may work harm to 
the commtmity, it is no less evident that the 
sphere of the State's action should be extended 
very cautiously, and so far as possible only where 
it will not crush out healthy individual initiative. 
Voluntary action by individuals in the form of 
associations of any kind for mutual betterment or 
mutual advantage often offers a way to avoid 
alike the dangers of State control and the dangers 
of excessive individualism. This is particularly 
true of efforts for that most important of all forms 
of betterment, moral betterment — the moral bet- 
terment which usually brings material betterment 
in its train. 

It is only in this way, by all of tis working 
together in a spirit of brotherhood, by each doing 
his part for the betterment of himself and of others 
that it is possible for us to solve the tremendous 
problems with which as a nation we are now con- 
fronted. Our industrial life has become so com- 
plex, its rate of movement so very rapid, and the 
specialization and differentiation so intense that 
we find ourselves face to face with conditions that 
were practically tmknown in this nation half a 
Qcntury ago. The power of the forces of evil has 

Christian Citizenship 309 

been greatly increased, and it is necessary for 
our self-preservation that we should sinrilarly 
strengthen the forces for good. We are all of us 
bound to work toward this end. No one of us can 
do eveiything, but each of us can do something, 
and if we work together the aggregate of these 
somethings will be very considerable. 

There are, of cotirse^a thousand different ways 
in which the work can be done, and each man 
must choose as his tastes and his powers bid him, 
if he is to do the best of which he is capable. But 
all the kinds of work must be carried along on cer- 
tain definite lines if good is to come. All the work 
must be attempted as on the whole this Yotmg 
Men's Christian Association work has been done, 
that is, in a spirit of good will toward all and not 
of hatred toward some; in a spirit in which to 
broad charity for mankind there is added a keen 
and healthy sanity of mind. We must retain our 
self-resp^t, each and all of us, and we must be- 
ware alike of mushy sentimentality and of envy 
and hatred. 

It ought not to be necessary for me to warn you 
against mere sentimentality, against the philan- 
thropy and charity which are not merely insuf- 
ficient but harmful. It is eminently desirable 
that we should none of us be hard-heaxted, but it 
is no less desirable that we should not be soft- 
headed. I really do not know which quality is 

jxo The Strenuous Life 

most productive of evil to mankind in the long 
run, hardness of heart or softness of head. Naked 
charity is not what we permanently want. There 
are of course certain classes, such as young chil- 
dren, widows with large families, or crippled or 
very aged people, or even strong men temporarily 
crushed by sttmning misfortime, on whose behalf 
we may have to make a frank and direct appeal to 
charity, and who can be the recipients of it with- 
out any loss of self-respect. But taking us as a 
whole, taking the mass of Americans, we do not 
want charity, we do not want sentimentality; we 
merely want to learn how to act both individually 
and together in such fashion as to enable us to hold 
our own in the world, to do good to others accord- 
ing to the measure of our opportunities, and to 
receive good from others in ways which will not 
entail on our part any loss of self-respect. 

It ought to be tmnecessary to say that any man 
who tries to solve the great problems that con- 
front us by an appeal to anger and passion, to 
ignorance and folly, to malice and envy, is not, and 
never can be, aught but an enemy of the very peo- 
ple he professes to befriend. In the words of 
Lowell, it is far safer to adopt "All men up" than 
"Some men down" for a motto. Speaking 
broadly, we cannot in the long run benefit one 
man by the downfall of another. Our energies, 
as a rule, can be employed to much better advan- 

Christian Citizenship 3x1 

tage in uplifting some than in pulling down others. 
Of course there must sometimes be pulling down, 
too. We have no business to blink evils, and 
where it is necessary that the knife should be used, 
let it be used unsparingly, but let it be used intel- 
ligently. When there is need of a drastic remedy, 
apply it, but do not apply it in the spirit of hate. 
Normally a poimd of construction is worth a ton 
of destruction. 

There is degradation to us if we feel envy and 
malice and hatred toward our neighbor for any 
cause ; and if we envy him merely his riches, we 
show we have ourselves low ideals. Money is a 
good thing. It is a foolish affectation to deny it. 
But it is not the only good thing, and after a cer- 
tain amoimt has been amassed it ceases to be the 
chief even of material good things. It is far better, 
for instance, to do well a bit of work which is well 
worth doing, than to have a large fortune. I do 
not care whether this work is that of an engineer 
on a great railroad, or captain of a fishing-boat, or 
foreman in a factory or machine-shop, or section 
boss, or division chief, or assistant astronomer in 
an observatory, or a second lieutenant somewhere 
in China or the Philippines — each has an impor- 
tant piece of work to do, and if he is really inter- 
ested in it, and has the right stuff in him, he will be 
altogether too proud of what he is doing, and too 
intent on doing it well, to waste his time in envying 

3X2 The Strenuous Life 

others. From the days when the chosen people re- 
ceived the Decalogue to our own, envy and malice 
have been recognized as evils, and woe to those 
who appeal to them. To break the Tenth Com- 
mandment is no more moral now than it has been 
for the past thirty centuries. The vice of envy is 
not only a dangerous but also a mean vice, for it is 
always a confession of inferiority. It may pro- 
voke conduct which will be fruitful of wrong-doing 
to others, and it must cause misery to the man who 
feels it. It will not be any the less fruitful of 
wrong and misery if, as is so often the case with 
evil motives, it adopts some high-sounding alias. 
The truth is that each one of us has in him certain 
passions and instincts which if they gained the 
upper hand in his soul would mean that the wild 
beast had come uppermost in him. Envy, malice, 
and hatred are such passions, and they are just as 
bad if directed against a class or group of men as 
if directed against an individual. What we need 
in our leaders and teachers is help in suppressing 
such feelings, help in arousing and directing the 
feelings that are their extreme opposites. Woe to us 
as a nation if we ever follow the lead of men who 
seek not to smother but to inflame the wild-beast 
qualities of the htunan heart ! In social and indus- 
trial no less than in political reform we can do 
healthy work, work fit for a free republic, fit for 
self-governing democracy, only by treading in the 

Christian Citizenship 313 

footsteps of Washington and Franklin and Adams 
and Patrick Henry, and not in the steps of Marat 
and Robespierre. 

So far, what I have had to say has dealt mainly 
with our relations to one another in what may be 
called the service of the State. But the basis of 
good citizenship is the home. A man must be a 
good son, husband, and father, a woman a good 
daughter, wife, and mother, first and foremost. 
There must be no shirking of duties in big things 
or in little things. The man who will not work 
hard for his wife and his little ones, the woman 
who shrinks from bearing and rearing many 
healthy children, these have no place among the 
men and women who are striving upward and 
onward. Of course the family is the foimdation 
of all things in the State. Sins against pure and 
healthy family life are those which of all others 
are sure in the end to be visited most heavily upon 
the nation in which they take place. We must 
beware, moreover, not merely of the great sins, 
but of the lesser ones which when taken together 
cause such an appalling aggregate of misery and 
wrong. The dnmkard, the lewd liver, the coward, 
the liar, the dishonest man, the man who is brutal 
to or neglectful of parents, wife, or children— of 
all of these the shrift should be short when we 
speak of decent citizenship. Every ounce of 
effort for good in your associations is part of the 

3X4 The Strenuous Life 

ceaseless war against the traits which produce 
such men. But in addition to condemning the 
grosser forms of evil we must not forget to con- 
demn also the evils of bad temper, lack of gentle- 
ness, nagging and whining fretfulness, lack of 
consideration for others — the evils of selfishness 
in all its myriad forms. Each man or woman 
must remember his or her duty to all aroimd, and 
especially to those closest and nearest, and such 
remembrance is the best possible preparation for 
doing duty for the State as a whole. 

We ask that these associations, and the men 
and women who take part in them, practise the 
Christian doctrines which are preached from every 
true pulpit. The Decalogue and the Golden Rule 
must stand as the foimdation of every successful 
effort to better either our social or our political life. 
*' Fear the Lord and walk in His ways " and " Love 
thy neighbor as thyself" — when we practise these 
two precepts, the reign of social and civic right- 
eousness will be close at hand. Christianity 
teaches not only that each of us must so live 
as to save his own soul, but that each must also 
strive to do his whole duty by his neighbor. We 
cannot live up to these teachings as we should; 
for in the presence of infinite might and infinite 
wisdom, the strength of the strongest man is but 
weakness, and the keenest of mortal eyes see but 
dimly. But each of us can at least strive, as light 

Christian Citizenship 315 

and strength are given him, toward the ideal. 
Effort along any one line will not suffice. We 
must not only be good, but strong. We must not 
only be high-minded, but brave-hearted. We 
must think loftily, and we must also work hard. 
It is not written in the Holy Book that we must 
merely be harmless as doves. It is also written 
that we must be wise as serpents. Craft unaccom- 
panied by conscience makes the crafty man a 
social wild beast who preys on the commimity 
and must be hunted out of it. Gentleness and 
sweetness unbacked by strength and high resolve 
are almost impotent for good. 

The true Christian is the true citizen, lofty of 
purpose, resolute in endeavor, ready for a hero's 
deeds, but never looking down on his task because 
it is cast in the day of small things ; scornful of 
baseness, awake to his own duties as well as to his 
rights, following the higher law with reverence, 
and in this world doing all that in him lies, so that 
when death comes he may feel that mankind is in 
some degree better because he has lived. 

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